The South African Banking Risk Information Centre was proved correct last week as the public was warned to be careful of false promises from Debt Counsellors who may be abusing their profession and the debt review process. Luke Hirst, MD of Debt experts DebtBusters, says ‘The National Consumer Tribunal (NCT) decision to cancel the registration […]
10 April 2013
03 April 2013: DebtButsers featured in Destiny Man Online Magazine.
A recent report by a debt management company suggests that the average age of consumers falling into debt has fallen from 42 to 34 in the last five years. DebtBusters went on to say nearly 50% of all credit active consumers were struggling with repaying their debts.
This is cause for concern, and we approached DebtBusters spokesperson Kelli Knutsen to find out how you can turn the tables around as far as your finances are concerned.
What is the best way to keep debt under control?
Draw up a monthly budget by listing your income and expenses and monitor where your money is going. Stick to it and constantly review it. Cut down on expenses and only purchase items that are necessities.
Work out a good payment plan. List your debts that are a priority and try to pay them off first. Debts that are more important usually have more serious consequences if you do not meet the payments. However, paying off smaller debts first will prevent the interest rates from increasing and turning them into bigger debts.
Increase your income by making sure you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to, get a second job, rent out a room in your house or even get your children to help you financially. Sign up for debt counselling. This is a formal and closely managed debt solution introduced by the National Credit Act in 2007.
How do you avoid incurring too much debt?
• Draw up a budget and stick to it. Review it on a monthly basis in order to account for any changes.
• Don’t fall behind on monthly debt repayments for bills, credit cards and other credit agreements.
• Save between 15% and 20% of your salary each month. Save up at least three months’ worth of living expenses, in case any unforeseen circumstances may occur.
• Purchase items on sale or in bulk in order to cut costs and save money. Only buy necessities and do not overspend.
• Always have a clear understanding of the credit agreement you enter and the interest rates attached.
• Keep track of your finances.
What are the obvious signs that one is getting deep into debt?
• Failing to afford to make debt repayments.
• Failing to make certain payments in order to pay for others that take priority.
• Spending more than you earn.
• Reaching your credit limit.
• Conflict over money with family members.
• Being turned down for credit loans.
• Creditors constantly hassling you.
• Using credit to pay for household and other living expenses.
• Regularly borrowing credit from micro-lenders.
• Garnishee orders on your salary or against your assets.
What is the first thing you must do when realise you’re heavily indebted?
Be honest and work out exactly how much debt you are in. It is important that you make sure that you don’t take out any further credit, cut up all credit cards and do not open any more store accounts. In order to get out of debt, you need to stop borrowing money and speak to someone you can trust about your financial situation.
It is essential that you work out how much money you have going in and out of your bank account by listing all of your income and expenses, as well as how much money you owe to the bank and other credit providers. If you are in debt, you will have more money going out of your bank account than coming in. It is therefore important to prioritise essential bills that need to be paid and draw up a monthly budget that you can follow.
Assess your financial situation by finding areas to cut costs in and save money.
This article originally featured on www.destinyman.com