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The worst day of the year, mathematically

By Staff Writer

If you are feeling a little more depressed than usual this Monday and not sure why, a British psychologist has the answer for you.

In 2005, Dr Cliff Arnall, a former Cardiff University professor, drew up a pseudo mathematical equation taking into account factors like Christmas Time debt, the time since your last pay cheque, your post holiday blues and the standard Monday morning blues to prove that today is the most depressing day of the year.

Although Arnall has since dismissed the notion as a self fulfilling prophecy that he put together as part of a PR practise for a travel company, one cannot help but admit that Arnall's theory has merit, particularly when it comes to personal finance.

Andy Gilder, general manager of online personal finance experts www.justmoney.co.za, says that there are a number of factors that contribute to today as being as depressing as everybody might have thought.

"While Dr. Arnall's theory takes into account factors like body image, the cold Northern hemisphere weather and the likelihood of the first broken New Year's resolution, there are a number of very tangible factors that made Monday such a tough day for South Africans."

" Apart from the Monday and post holiday  "blues", it has been a very long time since we all received our last pay cheque as most companies pay Christmas salaries earlier in December. That means we all have to stretch our monthly income just that little bit further in January."

"In addition to that, with the end of the month coming up we all know that the credit card bills from the Festive Season are just around the corner and if like many South Africans you have over indulged over Christmas, you have a number of people in a state of genuine ‘New Year Depression', with the prospect of starting a new year in debt a big factor."

Starting the year on the back foot puts a lot of people into the doldrums, but we needn't stay depressed for too long Gilder insists. Instead, why not make one more New Year Resolution? One that affects your financial mood...

"The New Year often brings with it things like policy renewals for insurance cover and medical aid. So, instead of signing away for another year of the same, why not be proactive in seeing whether you could be saving yourself money by moving providers or negotiating a better deal with your current one. Even if you save yourself a small amount, it will be rewarding to know that you aren't paying a cent more than you should. That, as far as the News Years Financial Blues goes, could be enough to beat them down."

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