Understanding financial hardship
Financial hardship means a person is unable to provide items like food, accommodation, clothing or medical treatment for themselves or their family. This can sometimes happen if you’ve lost a job suddenly, become ill or a relationship has broken down.
How do I know if I’m approaching financial hardship?
There are warning signs that you could be at risk of financial hardship. According to the Australian Bankers Association, some of these include:
- Your loan and credit card repayments take up more than 20% of your income after tax
- You’ve missed bill repayments
- You’ve applied for a new credit card to pay off an existing card
- You struggle to pay the mortgage or rent each month
- You sometimes go without food
- You don’t know how much debt you owe
What should I do if I’m experiencing financial hardship?
Help is available to anyone experiencing financial hardship and can’t pay their bills. Banks and service providers, like gas and electricity companies, have an obligation to offer flexible payment arrangements. Plus, The Salvation Army can provide guidance or alternatively speak to a financial counsellor. If you or someone you know is experiencing financial hardship, always speak to your creditors and explain your situation before going into default on your account or worse, bankruptcy.