Bev is 77 years old, and rents a pensioner flat in Tirau from the Waikato District Council. She isn’t in good health, so her daughter Raewyn shared her story and how her Financial Mentor and a loan Ngā Tāngata Microfinance helped Bev to get on top of her credit card debt.
“Mum had no savings and just lives off her pension. I hadn’t realised that she even had a credit card until things started to unravel,” explains Raewyn. “One day she asked me if I could drop her off to an appointment and mentioned that she only had $11 for her grocery shopping. This set off the alarm bells for me, so I mentioned that I had used a Financial Mentor in the past to help me with budgeting and asked if she needed help.”
“She wasn’t keen at that stage. However when I discovered she couldn’t afford petrol to get to another appointment, I suggested that she see a Financial Mentor at the Overdale Family Financial Services. This time she agreed.”
It transpired that Bev had a credit card that was maxed to its limit of $3,000. Every fortnight, she was paying $200 onto the card and then spending $200 in the next fortnight, so she could never get on top of the debt. It didn’t help that the bank had extended her credit limit by another $500, so she had $3,500 of debt.
Raewyn said her Mum had always been very careful to pay her household bills, so these were all up to date, but she didn’t have money left for food, petrol or other essentials. She was also using the credit card for medical essentials. One of the first things her Financial Mentor did was to arrange a needs assessment for Bev. This meant most of her medical supplies were now covered, which immediately reduced her expenses.
“I went with Mum to her appointments every week and encouraged her to share all her expenses with the Financial Mentor,” says Raewyn. A thorough review of Bev’s situation revealed that she was paying rent to the South Waikato District Council for her pensioner flat and WINZ had also been paying it. Eventually the Council paid the money back, which helped Bev reduce the balance of her credit card.
The Financial Mentor also suggested applying for a zero-interest and zero-fee loan with Ngā Tāngata Microfinance to help pay off the remaining credit card debt, which Raewyn says has helped enormously. “A huge weight has been lifted off Mum’s shoulders,” she says. “Thank you Ngā Tāngata and huge thanks to our Financial Mentor. Working with her has changed Mum’s life.”
Note: Names have been changed to protect privacy. Any re-publishing of these case studies needs the permission of Ngā Tāngata Microfinance Trust.