Many people with unmanageable debt feel completely alone with their struggles. They feel that they have somehow failed in being unable to maintain their repayments and that they have no right to ask for help. In actual fact there are countless Australians suffering serious financial difficulty, and a network of support options available to them.
The first option you have when you cannot pay your debts is to approach your banks. This is actually the least common step to be taken by people with financial difficulties, as the pressure and guilt that they can put you under for payment scares most people away. But every financial institution has, or should have, what is usually known as a “hardship” department, an area that you can contact to ask for some relief with your payments when you are seriously struggling. When you call your bank, try not to get stuck with the first person who answers and insists on committing you to payments – ask very clearly and firmly to be connected to their hardship area, and there you will get the information you need to be able to apply for their help.
If you are unable to gain a hardship arrangement with your individual creditors, you might want to try coming to an informal arrangement with the assistance of a third party. Try searching for financial counselors or companies that offer a budgeting service. Many of them will charge a fee, but if your situation is dire enough you may be able to find assistance through a local charity or church.
And if you find that this option is still not sufficient for your needs, you can always consider a formal arrangement to manage your debts. Your formal options can be either a Debt Agreement or Personal Insolvency Agreement, which are legally binding payment arrangements governed by the Bankruptcy Act, or actual Bankruptcy.
For free and impartial advice on where to get help for your particular financial problems, call our 1800 676 598. We can help you to assess the severity of your situation and the options that may be available to you, and either assist you ourselves or direct you to the organization that will best be able to help you.