ANNUAL REPORT 2014-15
“I was in a mess. Very upset because I had just lost my son and then had all these money worries. I only had a pension. I didn’t know where to turn,” Margaret, 75, says.
A couple of years ago, Margaret came to YFS because she was unable to manage financially. She is divorced and had lost her son. After that, everything else started to go wrong for her. She was no longer able to cope.
Margaret was left with $50,000 debt on top of her son’s funeral expenses. She had to pay it all on her own. The future didn’t look bright for her.
“I had borrowed money against my house for him and his wife so they could build a house in Canberra where they lived. I had to pay the bank $250 a fortnight and I was only on a pension."
"It sort of took everything out of me. I had no confidence. Nothing. It was dreadful,” she says.
After attending financial counselling through YFS, Margaret’s confidence started to build again.
“I kept going to my appointments and my financial counsellor made me feel better within myself. She would ring up different people while I was there."
"I could see how she was working and doing things and it reassured me. She would do everything while I was there so I could learn how to handle things."
"She negotiated with the bank I got the loan from. She got the payments down to $100 a fortnight for me, and she got them to not take all the interest and administration costs that they were charging me. She worked on it for nearly two years altogether. That’s amazing.”
While going through counselling, Margaret also had an electricity meter-reading issue. “I got this extremely high electricity bill and I knew there was no way I could have used that electricity.”
She admits that before coming to YFS she would have just paid for it, but her financial counsellor encouraged her to contact the Electricity Ombudsman for them to deal with the problem.
Margaret later found out that her neighbours had the same issue so she told them what to do and they all had their electricity bills reduced to what they should have been in the first place.
“They had read all the meters wrong. We even got a final notice saying they were going to cut the electricity off because we didn’t pay the bill, so I got in touch with the Ombudsman again and told
them what they were going to do and they sorted it out. There were three people I helped. Before, I didn’t know you could do this, but YFS taught me that."
"It saved all of us a lot of money because the bills were doubled from what we normally pay. We’re all pensioners. The other people thought it was great.”
Margaret has peace of mind now knowing she’s able to pay her essential costs of living. She spends time doing her crosswords and reading, but that’s only when she’s not out and about with her friends.
She couldn’t be more appreciative of the help she received from YFS since it allowed her to regain control of her finances and maintain her independence.
“I’m doing great now. I never thought this would happen,”
“I can tell people how great YFS is. They can solve many problems there. Let people know, they’re not on their own, because that’s the worst part. When things go wrong for you, you
feel isolated, that you got to deal
with it on your own and you don’t have to.”
“When unexpected problems crop up you don’t think other people have those sorts of problems and that’s what isolates you and makes you feel that you have to try and deal with
them on your own and you haven’t got a clue how to deal with it. It just happens. It’s a horrible feeling.”
“I’d say: go there and just get some advice. It’ll make you feel better.
If you’re armed with advice it makes you feel that you can cope better.
It’s when you don’t know that makes you feel bad.
I always recommend YFS.”
“My financial counsellor never gives up. She works and works to solve things. Many times I thought, she must give up on me. She can’t keep fighting, but she didn’t.”
YFS is funded by the Australian Government and the Queensland Government.
YFS acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are Australia's First Peoples and the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we meet and work.