There is a lot of stigma attached to talking about finances, especially when it comes to not having enough money.
The stigma appears to be fading because of Covid-19 after many of us were stuck in the same boat: No job, no income, struggling to make ends meet.
Roughly 40% of people said they lost income due to the pandemic, according to the Financial Planning Association of Australia. They expressed concern over not being able to make ends meet or relying on savings to pay for basic goods.
As a financial professional of over 20 years, my immediate reaction is to encourage people to see a qualified financial adviser to help sort out their money troubles. But I also realise that not everyone is in position to hire professional help.
The good news is there are many community organisations that provide access to financial counsellors at no charge. The National Debt Helpline is one such organization. It has received more than 1.2 million calls since it launched nine years ago.
The National Debt Helpline can help you find answers to important questions like how to better manage your credit cards or how to approach your bank about temporary payment deferrals. You can also seek guidance on issues like debt consolidation or temporary interest freezes on your credit card.
But people don’t just call to talk about immediate money troubles. Issues such as homelessness, gambling and substance abuse routinely come up in conversations with counsellors. Sometimes, people just need motivation to get their financial affairs in order. It helps when there’s a human voice on the other side of the line.
Whatever you decide to do, realise that you are not alone. There are many people out there who are willing to help.
And if you’d prefer to do some online reading before you talk to someone, government-managed websites like MoneySmart have been designed to help you manage your finances. Check it out and let me know what you think.