Stephen Cranston Writer & columnist

It is often thought that there is a linear relationship between the money you earn and your financial health. But it is surprising how many people on low incomes manage to keep the show on the road, and how many in high-income brackets are drowning in debt. The valuable Momentum/Unisa Household Financial Wellness Index takes account of this. Instead of looking at traditional living standards measures, or the anachronistic racial group classifications, it divides the population into four groups: the financially distressed, financially unstable, financially exposed and financially well. The names are self-explanatory. The distressed have deeply rooted problems and will need major outside assistance. For a business such as Momentum — which serves this market through its Metropolitan product range — there is a high risk of defaults on fixed payments such as insurance premiums, or clients resorting to loan sharks to get through the month. The financially unstable can probably pay their w...

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