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Beating the debt trap

Sep 10 2012 15:59

MyFin24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

A Fin24 user, who wishes to remain anonymous, writes:
Just to add to the letter dated September 06 2012, headlined Wedding bells, Savings hell, I got married in 2008 on October 30.

It was three days after my wife’s birthday and we wanted to celebrate both the wedding and her belated birthday.

My wife had twin girls when we got married and they were seven years old at that time.

The father of the twins didn’t play his part in supporting them and my wife found herself having to pay school fees that were then in arrears.

Needless to say, my wife also opened clothing accounts, took out personal loans, went into overdraft and turned to credit cards just to keep up with the Joneses.

She was making up for the love the kids (didn’t get from their father) by lavishing them with all the material things, which she bought on credit.

We got married in community of property and it became my burden too. The debt was well over R450 000 and it was heavy.

We ended up going for debt review, and I must say we are still burdened by this debt.

The children always demanded to go to Spur, Wimpy or any other restaurant and they called it quality time.

I had to change all of this mindset and started to show them the consequences of living for the here and now.
I must say, though we are still paying off this debt, we are managing and we are able to save. We are paying a bit more than we should and this helps a lot.

Recently, we came up with a savings plan and although one of our daughters was a bit reluctant at first, we finally gained their buy-in. We asked them to to come up with a figure each hopes to have saved at the end of 12 months, and how they hope to get there.

One came with a figure of R600 by putting away R50 each month, and one with a figure of R240 by putting away R20. When they realised that their savings will be topped up with the same amount, they went for it.

We will also soon open a post bank savings account for each one of them.
We are doing this to show them that it is possible to live without credit cards, an overdraft and all these personal loans.

Our parents used to say it is impossible to live without debt and I am saying it is. As we work on paying off this debt, we do not want to ever get back to another set of debts.

As the man thinks in his heart, so is he.

If you think it is impossible to live without debt, you will always find yourself in the chains of debt and if you think it is possible to break free, you can. It is about sticking to a plan…  to be disciplined and always following up.

We must encourage saving at all costs and learn that patience is truly a virtue.

I am a trainee accountant and learning a lot about saving and investments. In fact, I am in the process of starting an investment club and it is almost up and running.

I like crunching numbers and playing around with figures and am always on Fin24, FinWeek, and Fin24's dashboard just to learn about economic trends.

I have come to learn that without knowledge, and most importantly vision, we will perish. I don't want my children to go to a tertiary institution carrying debt and I certainly don't want them to live on debt.

We are working towards and must come to the point where indeed CASH becomes KING!
 - Fin24

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