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Financial care changes family destiny

“My message this Anti-Poverty Week [2021] is that it is so important to ask for help and to access support early. There are always options to look at, and there are so many negative consequences when you don’t. Sadly, too often we tend to see people at the point of crisis, rather than early intervention.” – Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor Liezl

Heavily pregnant with her first child, Diya* had recently escaped domestic and family violence (DFV). Her partner had forced her to leave her career job, move interstate and had also coerced her into a range of debts.

When she finally left the relationship, Diya had no family support. She was living in a new state and was unable to look for a new job until after the baby was born. What she desperately needed was some breathing room to re-establish a new life, without the threat of spiraling into an ever-deeper financial black hole.

More than two years ago, Diya was referred to Salvation Army Moneycare financial counsellor Liezl, who supported her with strong advocacy to banks and financial institutions. Through these efforts, Liezl was able to finally gain a moratorium on Diya’s debts until she could get back to work. Liezl also helped to build Diya’s confidence and give her clarity around her financial position and options, and organised a voucher through Salvation Army Doorways for some baby items.

For Diya, this support was life-changing.

She recently wrote to Liezl to thank her for her support and to tell her that financial counselling had helped change the direction of her life.

Help in hard times

Diya wrote: “I came to you in early 2019, I was about seven to eight months pregnant and just recently escaped domestic violence with an AVO. I was in serious debt. Pushing $20k and had zero quality of life and zero money and assets. I lost everything escaping DV.

“You were so kind and gentle and understanding. You helped me take out a moratorium on all my loans for 12 months to allow me to prepare for my child and life as a single parent. That triggered my journey to financial freedom.

“Over the course of a year I was able to pay back every cent of that debt that I had accrued and I am now in a position where I am not only debt free, I can say that I actually have wealth. I have you to thank for that!

“I am now a single mother with a two-year-old girl and we are thriving … Our lives have been transformed and for the first time I am living a life without excessively worrying about my finances.

“If I had not stepped into your office three years ago, I would never have been able to get into a position where I can feel secure and positive about our future. I am forever grateful for your gracious help and now also share my story and encourage others in similar situations to visit financial counsellors.

“You have impacted me so much that I am actually studying to become a financial advisor myself and currently work in finance! Please just know that the work you are doing is truly God's work. You have been beyond a blessing to my family and there will never be a day that I won't be thankful for meeting with you.”

Empowerment and hope

Liezl says: “Really Diya has worked to turn around her life and Moneycare was just there to help her through a tough time. We actively advocated to banks for extensions, worked on financial literacy, looking at how to pay smaller debts off first, then as payments changed, how to redo a budget.

“In times where the bills just keep coming, it can be overwhelming, especially in the situation of no income and physical and emotional violence and control and its aftermath.

“It helped empower Diya. She took the support and advice and ran with it.”

Now studying to be a financial advisor, Diya says: “Without the support of Liezl and the Moneycare team, I would be on the verge of homelessness. It is a scary and confronting thought, but it is true.

“My advice to others in similar positions is to reach out the minute you are ready to leave – the earlier the better and [just] come as you are, debts and all. Financial counsellors are there to help and no financial situation is too much for them to handle. The incredible and empowering journey to financial freedom, independence and control, all starts with [asking for] a little help.”

*This is a true story with name and some details changed for privacy

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