Anti-Poverty Week - getting finances back on track
Nathan, a Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor with a decade of experience, says one of the most important messages this Anti-Poverty Week (15-21 October) is that there is no shame in asking for help, and that seeking support can lead to a path of financial freedom and stability.
Based at the Morley Salvos in Western Australia, Nathan explains that embarrassment can stop some people who are struggling with financial stress from seeking support early from Salvation Army services such as Moneycare (free financial counselling) and Doorways (emergency support, case management and referrals).
However, Nathan says, the earlier people find the courage to reach out for help, the more options and solutions are available.
“It’s important to let creditors especially know what’s going on before the situation spirals, and they’re more likely to work with you and try to find a solution or a resolution. It can save a lot of heartache,” he says.
Nathan says that financial difficulties and associated emotional struggles are a reality for many people.
“I want people who may be struggling to know they are not alone and there is no shame in asking for help to get their life back on track.
“It is so important to understand that anyone can struggle, no matter who they are, including many in the workforce.”
Help under stress
The Salvation Army’s Moneycare is a free financial service offering confidential and practical help and care to anyone struggling to cope with financial stress, or who needs support to sort their finances.
Over the Financial Year 2021/2022 (FY21/22), Moneycare supported over 12,600 individuals Australia-wide. Of those individuals, 93 per cent reported Moneycare had an overall positive impact on their circumstances, and 88 per cent said they were able to manage their situation better after connecting with the service (2021/2022 Moneycare Outcome Measurement Annual Report).
“The earlier you start to deal with financial stress, the better.”
Additional Moneycare resources includeYou’re the Boss (an in-person financial skill building course) and Be the Boss (online course) as well as NILs (No Interest Loans).
Nathan explains that one of the many benefits of financial counselling is that a financial counsellor can help “take the emotion out of a tough situation”, advocating with creditors on behalf of a community member.
“When you’re stressed, you can’t always think straight and there is a lot of emotion. There can be a better outcome with someone advocating on behalf of a community member.”
Nathan says financial counselling can be life-changing, not only in practical and financial terms, but also emotionally.
“One of the great joys of my role is the changes that you see [financial counselling] makes to people’s lives,” Nathan says.
“There are many people who have come through the doors with a sense of hopelessness, thinking they might have to go bankrupt or something similar. But as we walk and talk with them, they begin to see light at the end of the tunnel.
“I worked with one community member who had severe depression, young children and debt on multiple credit cards,” Nathan says. “When I first saw the community member, they didn’t want to go on living.
“They were sure they would lose their house. But the banks [in this case] waived the credit card debts and provided hardship support on their mortgage.”
Nathan explains the community member was then able to manage the mortgage and the family got back on track emotionally as well as financially.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, struggling financially takes a toll on your mental health, in some shape or form. [Positively and negatively] there’s a huge correlation with mental health and financial wellbeing.”
The good news is there is support available along the path to financial, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
For an appointment with one of our Financial Counselling Team, call 1800 722 363.
For emotional support and referrals, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
For more information on Anti-Poverty Week and resources, go to MySalvos here