What to do if you are in financial difficulty
With the cost of living rising across the country, it’s no secret that many Australians are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
Between rising house, petrol, grocery and utility prices, many households are really feeling the financial pinch as economic uncertainty looms, pushing some Australians even deeper into debt.
Whatever the reason for the financial stress, the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA) stressed the importance of acting quickly to take control of the situation, saying help was available for those who were struggling.
“If you are having financial difficulty, you are not alone and support is available,” said AFSA chief executive Tim Beresford. Yahoo finance.
“It’s important to get help early and understand your options.”
Beresford said the best place to start when dealing with money problems is knowing how much debt you have.
“Consider your most recent statements from all your lenders — including banks, loan providers, buy now, pay later for services — to understand where you stand,” he said.
“If you are having immediate difficulty making your repayments, talk to your creditors. This may include your bank and companies that provide electricity, gas, internet and phone services.
“They may have hardship programs, or may be able to offer flexible payments or a lower interest rate.”
If you have unmanageable debts
Beresford said for those with unmanageable debt, “there are personal insolvency options.”
“Each option has different impacts, depending on your situation, but a formal insolvency option may be able to provide the fresh start you need,” he said.
The three main formal insolvency options are bankruptcy, debt agreements, and personal insolvency agreements.
More information on personal insolvency options can be found on the AFSA website.
Talk to a financial advisor
Beresford also advised that when reviewing your finances, be sure to seek reliable advice from a trusted source, such as a financial adviser or insolvency practitioner, particularly if you are considering personal insolvency options. .
“Financial advisors offer free, independent and confidential services to discuss your financial situation and help you get back on track,” he said.
Financial advice services are available through the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or at ndh.org.au.
You can also get advice from trusted sources such as AFSA registered insolvency practitioners on their website.
Red flags to watch out for
Finally, Beresford advised, “Beware of dubious advisers.
“Some advisors promise quick fixes that sound too good to be true,” he said.
“Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
He added that warning signs to look out for included charging high fees that were often payable up front or trying to rush decision-making.
These advisers can be reported through the AFSA Whistleblower Service.
Follow Yahoo Finance on Facebook, LinkedIn, instagram and Twitterand subscribe for free to the full offer daily newsletter.