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Making changes to build financial and emotional stability

Karin’s life changed forever after a workplace accident left her with serious health issues and a brain injury. She had to relearn many things, including how to survive and thrive on a tight budget. This Anti-Poverty Week (16-22 October 2022), Karin shares her journey, including the essential financial
support she received through The Salvation Army’s Moneycare (free financial counselling service).

Eight years ago, Karin was at a great stage in her life. She had single-handedly raised her (now) adult sons and was relishing the role of grandmother. She had a meaningful career and was excited for her future.

But her life changed forever after a workplace accident left her with a brain injury and other ongoing health issues. 

She says: “One day at work, I fell, broke my nose, and sustained a range of other injuries, including cognitive and memory issues and [ended up with] a permanent disability.”

After the accident, Karin found out she would not be eligible for compensation. She did, however, have an insurance policy linked to her superannuation, which gave her some income – but less than half of what she had been earning.         

“I was worried,” Karin says. “I had and still have a mortgage and didn’t know how I would pay everything. It was really, really hard. Every month the money coming in was just going straight out and if anything else went wrong – like a car breakdown – oh my goodness. Then I had [huge] medical bills on top of that.

“I was struggling financially, emotionally, and in so many ways. I didn’t know what to do.”

Moneycare help in tough times 

After the accident, Centrelink put Karin in contact with Tracey, a financial counsellor at the Salvos Moneycare for financial advice and guidance.

Karin says: “[Tracey] helped me with my finances, budgeting and planning and suggested keeping a record of what I was spending and what I was buying. She never lectured me. She made me feel I was in control, but she was also guiding me along the way.

“It helped me take control and if I had questions, I could always ask Tracey. It was a bit like exercising with a friend – it encourages you and you feel stronger when you work together.”

If the cost of living and rising household bills are causing you stress, check out Moneycare’s free financial resources for advice on budgeting, saving and managing loans.

Call Moneycare today
Call 1800722363

or visit this page
Moneycare financial resources

As a single mum who had bought her own house, single-handedly raised her family, and put herself through university, Karin already knew how to be careful with money. However, after her accident, she had to significantly modify her spending and savings habits and work through the complexities of her new financial situation.

She met with Tracey weekly for several months to sort through budgets and spending and says: “It wasn’t easy [but] it really was a matter of changing my mindset.

“It is so easy to spend a dollar, here, three dollars there, and everything quickly adds up. So what I decided to do was take out cash every week. And I would say, ‘I am only spending this money this week,’ and then put any extra money onto my mortgage.

“I also realised I had to cut down and say to my kids and grandkids, ‘I can’t afford to buy special things, big birthday presents.’ It was hard.”

Don’t be afraid to reach out for financial support

Karin suggests to anyone who is struggling with their finances they consider contacting Moneycare to talk about financial counselling, and not struggle alone.

“They can really help you get your life back on track,” she says. “Money struggles are part of so many lives, and all walks of life. In this time of inflation, the war in Ukraine, petrol and rent and rates going up, we all need that help.

“The whole system is so simple in a good way and teaches you to be responsible. I truly believe The Salvation Army and Moneycare don’t just help people in the short term, but they help people to help themselves get back on their feet.”

At Tracey’s suggestion Karin, who was struggling emotionally for some time after the accident, also began volunteering with her local Salvos. This helped rebuild her confidence and means she now helps countless others.

Hope for a positive future after financial counselling assistance

Karin now plans to dedicate her life to supporting others as a Salvation Army soldier (church member) and says: “I feel like I still have a lot to give and hope to work with the Salvos in my future to help others as God leads me.”

Having found great purpose from what looked like a hopeless situation, Karin says: “From the outside, many of us might look strong and we might look happy, but often we are struggling in some way.

“More than ever, and after Tracey’s support and [the help of] others, I want to make a difference. It is so important to help give people hope and help them realise that you only fall as low as you fall, but once there – the only way is up! Having someone to listen and care can make all the difference.”

The Salvation Army offers housing and homelessness support, support for survivors of family and domestic violence and more.

For urgent financial assistance visit this page
Financial assistance

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Hope where it's needed most