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… my financial situation improving thanks to the support and guidance of Uniting Communities’ financial counselling team.


FINANCIAL COUNSELLING: MICHAEL’S STORY


WHEN MICHAEL SUSTAINED AN INJURY TO HIS SPINE AND HAD TO STOP WORK, HE SOON FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO MANAGE ON A FIXED INCOME.


Before long, his debt had spiralled and he was in financial trouble.


“I had several credit cards and I started using them to supplement my income,” says Michael. “I was also playing the pokies, and soon I’d run up a large amount of debt.”


As his debt mounted, Michael became more and more worried.


“I couldn’t see how to pay it off,” he says. “I just thought I would have to go bankrupt, or get taken to court by the banks. I looked up the ASIC website and they have a list of places to ring if you are in financial trouble. Eventually I was referred to Uniting Communities.”


Michael met with Tineke Bradford, one of Uniting Communities’ financial counsellors.


24 | Uniting Communities Annual Report 2016


“I got an appointment straight away,” he says. “I met with Tineke, we discussed my options and went through a plan of my expenses and income. I realised that there was no way I could pay the money back.”


“Tineke got in touch with all my creditors, who were banks, and they forgave the debt. It was a great service. Tineke was great – she was professional at all times and, most importantly, didn’t judge me or my situation. She also gave me some helpful tips and advice for how I could stay debt-free.”


Uniting Communities offers free, independent and confidential financial counselling services to provide information, support and advocacy to people in financial difficulty. Our financial counsellors are non-judgmental, qualified professionals who can help with bills arrears, credit card debt, debt recovery, negotiating with creditors, managing money and debt, and bankruptcy information and alternatives.


Michael says that, with Uniting Communities’ help, his financial situation has improved and he’s much better equipped to manage his financial situation.





It was a massive relief – a weight off my shoulders,’”he says. “My income is fixed, but my expenses aren’t much, so now I’m living within my means and not using credit at all. I wish I’d done this 30 years ago.”


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