A simple swipe of your thumb could end up costing you this festive season

The end-of-year holidays are around the corner now, and it’s almost as if you can faintly hear the brass bell clanking in the background, signaling to all the exhausted runners that it’s the final lap of this year’s race. It’s time to dig deep, strain every sinew, and max out the last few bars of energy from our already depleted battery packs.

Life in the twenty-first century feels like a race, doesn’t it? A marathon steeplechase on an endless cyber loop, designed to keep us hurdling over business challenges and sloshing through personal dilemmas. There never seems to be enough days in the month, hours in the day and especially Rands in the bank account. The good news is that it’s almost time to crash through the finish line. The not-so-good news is that we might be so fatigued by the gruelling pace set this year, that we could end up letting some critical money decisions slide past in the next few weeks.

And this is the type of stuff we don’t want to saddle ourselves with when next year’s race is around the corner.

December and January are notoriously difficult months if you’re trying to balance the household books. It starts with getting paid earlier in December (sometimes by as much as two weeks) which then means your next payday in January is six weeks out. The extra two weeks can be a real financial stretch for most South African families especially if they didn’t pick up a bonus cheque – something that isn’t necessarily guaranteed in this stop-start economic COVID climate nowadays.

A long-overdue vacation doesn’t come cheap and Christmas gifts (if you happen to celebrate this religious holiday) simply don’t dangle off the back of a reindeer-drawn sled, sweeping through the night sky.

Between now and the end of January, making sound financial decisions is key to making sure you start 2022 off on the right foot. We suggest that you scrutinize all your expenses between now and then and make sure that you meet your fixed repayments, especially your insurance premiums.

Thanks to the marvels of internet banking, most of us control our finances from our smartphones and, because we can thumb in and out of our bank accounts in a couple of seconds, it’s easy to keep an eye on things.

It also means we can dispute or reverse debit orders lodged against our bank accounts, which is great because unscrupulous folk trying to hoodwink us out of our hard-earned money can’t get away with hitching an unauthorized debit order collection to our accounts anymore.

But being able to quickly thumb-swipe a bank transaction and flag it as “return to sender” might lead to a completely different type of behaviour setting in.

It could create a situation where you can easily decide not to pay your insurance premiums and take a “breather for a month” because the option not to pay is right in front of your eyes and under your thumb.

We urge you NOT to reverse or dispute your insurance premiums over this period.

Do not fool yourself by thinking “Oh it’s fine, I’ll just catch up on the missed premium in the new year”, but will you? Have you sat down and considered the implications of not paying your insurance premiums?

Remember that any insurance policy is a legal contract between two parties (namely the insurer and the insured). The insurer is promising to pay out a pre-determined amount of money if the “unforeseen” happens and the insured must make sure their policy premiums are paid on time, every month.

Failing to pay your insurance premiums means that you aren’t holding up your end of the bargain, and if this festive season happens to be when the “unforeseen” becomes your reality, do you want to be concerned about whether you did or didn’t make your obligatory payment?

At Wise About Life, we are all about making better decisions. Part of making better decisions is taking responsibility for your actions. All our loyal Stangen policyholders who’ve paid their premiums on time every month this year are automatically entered into our year-end lucky draw to win R5000 in cash.

Until next time.

The Wise About Life Team

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