After taking the first step and acknowledging you debt, you can look at doing the following:
1. Communicate directly with your creditors:
Approach your creditors and explain your inability to meet your full monthly repayments. They will most likely ask you for a breakdown of your income and expenses. This should that reflect that you are not able to make your required repayments, most creditors will be prepared to lower the amount. They normally do this for a period of 3 – 6 months. Though , trying to get hold of the correct person to speak to at the creditor call –centre – is very often, a mission impossible!
2. Consolidate your debt:
Now this is easier said than done. Many people seeking one loan and one repayment for all their debt, often have impaired credit records because of a bad payment history – and therefore don’t qualify for consolidated loan. It’s a vicious cycle!
3. Go and see a registered Debt Counsellor:
Debt Counsellors were put in place through the National Credit Act to help those who are over – indebted. And looking at the statistics – there are many who need help. A debt counsellor can negotiate with creditors on your behalf –and arrange for lower monthly repayments, longer terms and lower interest rates.
If you are under Debt Review – you also do not have to deal directly with your creditors. They have to deal with your debt counsellor. Debt Counsellors and the industry are regulated by the National Credit Regulator.
These are by far not your only options. But you have to start somewhere. You have to get out denial, take responsibility and start looking forward to a more debt – free existence.
Also, let’s stop the blame game. There are many reasons why people are unable to cope with their mounting debt. Debt surely did not only come about by people wanting to keep up with the Jones’s!
A recent study has shown that:
26% of people who borrow money, do so for food.
16% do so for work and school transport.
7% do so for school fees.
5% do so for electricity.
There is a very sad reality to this situation. Some people are incurring debt -simply to SURVIVE . Most South Africans are struggling. Roger Brown, Chief Executive of national Debt Counselling firm Credit Matters says “We have seen a huge increase in the amount of people seeking help for their debt problems. The amount of enquiries we have received for January 2013 – is virtually double that of January 2012. Debt Counselling may not be the solution to everyone’s problems – but I strongly urge people to at least view it as an option.”
Let’s stop feeling ashamed and demystify the topic. Let’s get talking about our debt. Only once we start openly debating, discussing and communicating on debt, will we realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Only once we put the problem out there – will we find more accessible and appropriate solutions.
As women, we survive the varying stigma’s society places on us. We survive bad relationships, childbirth and our children’s teenage years. WE are survivors – and we CAN get out of this debt nightmare.
Lets start talking!
National Credit Regulator (NCR ): www.ncr.org.za – 0860 627 627
National Debt Mediation Association (NDMA ): www.ndma.org.za – 0861 11 6362
Debt Counselling: www.creditmatters.co.za – 086 111 6197
Moeshfieka Botha – firstname.lastname@example.org