I have not shared my financial story with anyone. I guess this is a way of saying thank you to Beyond Debt for the support over the years. This has enabled me to be where i am today.
Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Australia and in regional town. I am from a working-class family. Neither parent went to university. I graduated from university with a double degree and honours. I have worked in healthcare sector for the past decade.
I have always been active and enjoyed sports. I also enjoy yoga, meditation and have an appreciation for creativity. I am an introvert and a shy, private person in general.
Up until my mid 20's I had a very limited understanding of credit cards, banks and finance. To say i was naive was an understatement.
Could you talk a little bit about getting the debt?
Where it all began. In retrospect I would say the younger version of me wasn't
'good' with money. I never seemed to have enough to cover my cost of living despite working part time throughout uni.
So I applied for my first credit card. I was 18 years old. I recall the bank approved a credit card with a $20,000 limit and 20% interest. This was later increased to $25,000 with 22% interest. I used credit to pay for living expenses over a few years with the intention of paying it all back when I finished and got full time work.
I successfully got a job after graduation and moved to larger city where the cost of living was higher, something I didn't account for.
I never really saw my wage. No sooner had it hit my bank account it was split between my large HECS Debt, rent, other expenses, and my credit card debt.
My debt spiralled until the age of 27 (almost a decade). I never asked for help I was too ashamed. I felt I had failed myself, my family, and my lenders. By this stage I had multiple creditors chasing me and I didn't know what to do. I was so desperate at this point I was conned into a Ponzi scheme.
Did you try to clear the debt before working with us?
Yes, I worked two jobs and did extra hours where I could in an effort to repay my debts. I wasn't getting ahead in fact it felt like I was going backwards.
What made you decided you were going to get debt free?
I vividly remember reaching breaking point. I was exhausted. I was working multiple jobs in an attempt to pay down my debt. I had lived in denial of my financial mess for so long, almost a decade. I considered myself completely negligent. I felt very alone at that point in my life.
I remember googling what happens to people like me. I honestly felt like a criminal. It was at this point I found Beyond Debt and called them that afternoon not knowing what to expect. I didn't want sympathy as I knew I was solely responsible for my finances.
To my relief a friendly voice answered and assured me it was going to be ok. By this stage my debt had "snowballed" drastically to around $60,000. It is safe to say I was drowning in debt. I also had a remaining $4,000 owing on my car loan and $10,000 of HECS Debt.
I had never travelled overseas or led a luxurious life. I worked multiple jobs in an attempt to pay it down but was rapidly approaching burnout with nothing to show for it.
How did you stay motivated?
Firstly, I was determined not to let myself down. It turns out Beyond Debt provided a simple structured repayment plan and a clear pathway to a debt free life. I honestly found it such a relief being a customer of Beyond Debt. It alleviated the financial strain I was under for so long. I finally regained some mental freedom.
Once Beyond Debt negotiated a suitable repayment plan with my lenders It was effortless to stay on track. I could track my progress. This was a huge motivator. It allowed me to slowly rebuild my confidence. I didn't feel stuck anymore. I felt in control of my finances for the first time in my life!
What have you learned along the way?
The main thing I learnt is definitely simplicity when it comes to finances. For me if I don't understand it I don't go there.
Knowing what you know now what would you do anything differently?
Reach out for advice, support, or help earlier. Don't suffer in silence. In retrospect this was my biggest downfall. I was too embarrassed to ask for advice or help.
What advice would you give to people with debt who don’t see a way of getting debt free?
Ask for help if you're in financial distress. Then educate yourself to the best of your ability. In the end it took a toll on my mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing. I would say before joining Beyond Debt my debt ruled my life.
Have faith, it takes courage to take the first step!
Is there anything you going to do now your debt-free that you couldn't before?
I will continue to put time aside to financially educate myself and enjoy the freedom of being debt free!
Do you have any final words of wisdom for the readers?
Empower yourself. Being in debt was a real low point for me. The journey to becoming debt free was empowering. Thanks to Beyond Debt. Basic money management is not something we are not taught in school so it is important we educate ourselves and those around us!
More specific information. I am not sure if this is relevant or useful.
When I started my journey with Beyond Debt the creditors stopped constantly harassing me. My stress instantly reduced. This allowed me to spend the time i used to be stressing on financially educating myself. For the first time in my life I felt financially organised and in control.
Beyond Debt has enabled me to save in excess 50k in cash. I have 40k invested. I have contributed $400 pre tax to my super each fortnight for the past 4years. I paid off my HECs, car loan, and major debt. I have paid for my post graduate studies upfront. I finally travelled overseas and have more planed. My salary varied from 80-100k a year. I could have paid my debt off early. But for me it was about establishing healthy money habits through regularly repayments and saving.
This would have not been possible without the support of Beyond Debt. I was also able to focus on things that mattered to me; my family/friends, health, and my career.
Beyond Debt is a trading name of DCS Group Aust Pty Ltd. Australian Credit License: 382607. RDAA Number: 1126. PO Box 3074 Newstead, QLD, 4006.
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