This is my story
Jodie knew there was a problem when she had to started sacrificing paying off her debts in order to pay for her daughter’s medical treatment.
“I’ve struggled financially over the past couple of years with unexpected medical expenses for my daughter who suffers from anxiety and depression for about seven or eight years. She has an eating disorder. It has become more severe in the last three to four years.
“I’ve always tried to pay my debts and cards on time, but I knew that something had to give.
“It’s a very different choice to say: do I want to buy that dress, or do I want to pay my credit card bills? You know exactly the right thing to do.
“Here I had to pay for my daughter’s treatment or fall behind on my debt and ruin my credit rating, but I didn’t really have that choice. Being a mother, I picked my daughter’s treatment.
“I never wanted my daughter to think that I was struggling. I didn’t ever want her to think she is a burden.
“She hasn’t worked for several years because she’s always in and out of hospital. She’s in hospital now and has been there for about three months already.
“To see that she’s only 24 years old and having to struggle, I want to try and help her as best I can so she can live a normal life.”
Jodie says that before he daughters condition deteriorated, she was managing her debt repayments and could see a pathway out.
“Many moons ago I took out a Part 9 agreement. And I realised that I did not want to go down that path. And that’s why I always made sure that I paid everything on time, I was never behind in my payments until all these added expenses started to creep up.
But at one point, her daughter became quite sick, requiring an expensive treatment of up to $500 a fortnight, which was not covered by Medicare or health funds.
“It’s added to my own anxieties. There’d be times when I went to sleep and not know what to do. But as a mother you just need to sort of be strong. There’s not much else I can do.
“I’ve always worked within the finance industry. I never knew about hardship until one day I gave somebody at CBA a call about not being able to make a payment. How much they helped me was tremendous and were very compassionate it was CBA that told me about Way Forward.
“I was a little bit skeptical at first, thinking that Way Forward was about bankruptcy and debt agreements.”
Jodie has been working with Way Forward’s Hardship Advocate Bill to come up with a plan to manage her debts.
“Bill is absolutely amazing to work with, and when he explained the process to me, I felt this sense of relief.
“Talking to him, it was just like a weigh came off my shoulders. Because I could see a future for myself, where I might be debt free.
“My anxiety improved. I’ve already got other things to worry about, like, my husband and I are going through a separation. Now, my daughter’s sick. I have all that stress already. But knowing that this is not a stress anymore, has totally improved my life.
“I’ve created my first vision board for 2021 and one of the big things on the top of it is to start saving for a house. I’m going to be 50 this year but I want to start saving for a house. And I can see that in five years’ time, I’m going to be financially stable.
Her advice to anyone struggling with debt?
“Don’t be afraid to take the step.”