A marriage breakdown, career change and raising a family as a single parent caused Adam to fall into debt and he couldn’t see a way out

This is my story

Adam’s story begins with a marriage breakdown. His partner had succumbed to addiction issues, leaving Adam as the sole caregiver for his two children.

Adam’s marriage separation happened over a decade ago, but since then he has experienced financial stress and on-going debt that would seemingly take until beyond his retirement to pay off.

“I thought I was going to be carrying this debt until I died. It would have to come out of my super. There didn’t seem to be any other way out.”

The cost of the separation, combined with losing a well-paying job, trying to put his kids through private school and university, starting his own business and singlehandedly managing the cost of running a family household and mortgage meant that Adam was weighed down with debt.

His children are now grown adults with successful careers, who are thriving in their personal and professional lives.

“I was a general manager for a corporate employer. The money was good, it was a great  lifestyle with lots of travel. Unfortunately, as a result of the marriage breakdown I lost that job. It was very hard to get back into the corporate world and I ended up starting my own business, but that was an incredible drain.

“I started a new business in early 2019 and that was when the industry I am in began to decline. Which meant revenue fell off. In 2020, the pandemic just destroyed business. The last two or three years were the most difficult. I just couldn’t get on top of the debt.

“Unfortunately, you tend to lean on the generosity of the banks when you have an offer of a credit card, you think that’ll fix that problem. That was what got me into real difficulties.

“I didn’t have a lot of dialogue with any the creditors. As far as they were concerned, I was probably an ideal client: I kept paying the minimum, they could charge me the interest.”

Over this time, Adam managed his debts well and was across his finances. He met his payments on-time and kept a well-documented schedule of his repayments.

“Every month, I knew exactly what was due when it was due. The best I could manage was to meet the minimum repayments and occasionally drop a bit more in. When another expense would come up and I would draw down on the cards again, living on credit.

“You just don’t get ahead because of the interest that builds up.

“I was very fortunate because a lovely person working for one of my creditors Bankwest said she could see that during the pandemic everybody was in strife, and they suspended payments. She asked if I heard of Way Forward and would I like to know more about how they could help?

“I thought, because I had been carrying that debt for several years, there’s no way I’m ever going to get out of it and that I might go bankrupt. That was not an ideal scenario. But they introduced me to Way Forward. I started to work with Bill and that lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.

“When I first met Bill, and he explained the process. It took a couple of months to gather all the relevant information and present it all.

Adam is at the beginning of his process with Way Forward, having made his first payment in December 2020 and making monthly repayments.

“Knowing exactly how much you’ve got each month and knowing that you’re making inroads into the debt and interest isn’t being charged, it’s a huge relief.

“Having this fixed payment, knowing that there’s a final term to the repayments and Way Forward managing things on my behalf allows me to focus a lot more on important things like getting the business back on track and getting on top of things financially.

“Having this support is very important because I know at any time, I can email or call Bill if I have a question or issue, and he’ll have an answer.

“When I first heard of Way Forward, I thought it was another debt consolidation company but when it was explained that it’s an industry body supported by the banks, I could see they were credible  as opposed to some of these other companies where they make money off people’s misfortune.

“As a service, Way Forward demonstrates a lot of empathy and support. Bill and I got on well, he came from a banking background and me from a finance background. Working with him was good he was he explained things to things at an easy pace.

“Part of the problem is if you if you try and manage it yourself, as I did for several years, you keep it under control but you don’t necessarily fix the problem.

“For anyone who’s in that situation, don’t be embarrassed. Don’t be afraid to approach Way Forward and have a conversation, because it doesn’t cost you anything, and it might just change everything.

“It can be embarrassing being in debt. We’re supposed to be intelligent and should have enough knowledge and wherewithal to manage money. I put myself in that category coming from a finance background and being reasonably competent. However, there is this negative relationship with credit and it’s just so accessible.

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