We can unexpectedly find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to meet our repayments and other financial obligations. We call this situation financial difficulty. The causes of financial difficulty can include sickness, unemployment or over commitment.
A survey conducted by the Australian Financial Literacy Foundation in 2007-08 revealed that Australians believe they have generally high levels of ability with their money, especially when it comes to everyday money management issues like dealing with credit, budgeting, saving and managing debt. But they are less confident when it comes to more complex issues like investing, debt repayments and ensuring they have enough money for retirement.
A significant number of Australians hold attitudes and beliefs that can get in the way of them managing their money better - from thinking it doesn’t matter or it isn’t important, to finding it stressful, boring or too hard. Below is some insight into these attitudes and the proportion of Australians who have these views:
- 55% of adults believe that money is just a means to buy things
- 48% say that dealing with money is stressful and overwhelming
- 40% say that thinking about their long term financial future makes them uncomfortable
- 36% say money is not important to be happy in life
- 31% say financially, they like to live for today
- 31% say dealing with money is boring
- 69% say they have the ability to invest money, and
- 63% say they can ensure they have enough money for retirement.
Finding yourself in financial difficulties, mortgage arrears or being unable to cope with your debts is stressful and traumatic. Don't try to cope alone. Use the free help and advice services that are available. Don't ignore the problems and hope they will go away - they won't. Do talk to us and to any other creditors - silence is not golden.
10 positive steps towards managing your money
Here are 10 positive steps towards managing your money during a financial difficulty:
- Get into the habit of using a budget to manage your money, and avoid having to borrow money from friends or family. Our budget calculator can assist you in organising your weekly income and expenditure.
- Avoid impulse shopping - use services such as Lay-by to avoid a credit card purchases.
- Use prepaid or capped mobile phone accounts to help control how much you spend on your phone.
- If you buy a car, shop around for the best deal on a loan; don’t just accept the finance offered to you at the car yard.
- Shop around for the best deal on car insurance and tell your insurance company all the facts when applying for a policy - don’t be tempted to conceal convictions or crashes, or you could be left uninsured.
- Keep credit cards under control by paying them off in full each month - look for a credit card with a low ongoing interest rate, rather than paying for bells and whistles.
- If you have several loans including lots of credit card debt, consider consolidating the loan balances into one personal loan.
- Set up regular electronic transfers to your credit cards, or savings account.
- Use discount coupons. Why pay full price for fast food? Or even groceries? Take advantage of discount coupon to save some money.
- Never commit to financial affairs that you can’t afford and stick to your budget.
If you find yourself in financial difficulties, you should let SERVICE ONE know as soon as possible. We will be positive and do all we can to help you to overcome your difficulties.
The sooner you discuss your problems, the easier it will be for both you and SERVICE ONE to find a solution.
SERVICE ONE will give you straightforward information in plain English explaining how we can help you overcome your difficulties. With your cooperation, we will develop a plan with you for dealing with your financial difficulties. If you are experiencing any financial difficulty, contact us now.
Don't make promises you can't keep. It will make negotiation that much harder in the future. You are not alone. Removing the fear of a financial crisis should be an important priority for all of us. Unfortunately, crises will happen so it's best to have a sound budget and savings goals that can cope with life's emergencies.