Financial Tips header

Increase font size Decrease font size

Managing Financial Difficulty

Attention: open in a new window. Print

Many of us will suffer a financial crisis at one stage or another in our lives and it’s important to reach out as soon as you can. Whether it's job loss, illness or injury, a relationship breakdown, a natural disaster, or an unusual turn of events, financial difficulty can happen to anyone.

A large proportion of us are simply unprepared to handle financial difficulty. Some don't have the skills to manage their money sensibly. Others ignore the warning signs and fall into a debt trap. Whatever the causes, the consequences can be devastating.

Prevention is better than cure - we can refer you to a Financial Planner for expert advice on budgeting, managing debt, managing your superannuation, saving for your retirement or investing your redundancy payout. They will help you to make informed long-term financial decisions.

However, if you are already finding it difficult to cope with day-to-day financial pressures, you should consult a Financial Counsellor who is trained to help you resolve current money problems and put you back in control of your finances. For free financial counselling, call 1800 007 007 or visit the National Debt Helpline.

If you are experiencing problems, talk to your creditors (the people or companies you owe money to) as soon as you can. You may feel awkward and embarrassed, but it is important to let them know what is happening. Most creditors will be pleased you have called to inform them about the situation. Take the time to think about what money you have coming in and what money you are spending. Prepare a money plan so you can make an offer to your creditors that is realistic and within your means.

10 steps that you can take to avoid falling into a debt trap include:

  • Create a budget - which has savings goals and spending priorities - and stick to it. Use our budget calculator or visit our Managing Your Budget page for more helpful tips.
  • Have a fallback emergency fund of at least three months income.
  • Avoid impulse purchases and frequent trips to the shops - put things on lay-by if you must have them.
  • Use your own money to pay for goods and services as much as possible.
  • If you can’t afford it without a credit card, don’t buy it.
  • Pay the balance on your credit card off in full each month.
  • Be careful of ‘Buy now, pay later’ services or store-issued credit cards. These often have additional fees, which can add up quickly.
  • Reduce the number of credit cards you have.
  • Set up automatic repayments to your loans so as soon as your pay comes in your repayments come out.
  • If you have several loans including lots of credit card debt, consider consolidating the loan balances into one personal loan - this will give you the opportunity to clear the debt, with one set of repayments, over a fixed period of time, potentially saving you on interest. Learn more about our Personal Loans.
Don't make promises you can't keep. It will make negotiation that much harder in the future. You are not alone. Removing the fear of a financial crisis should be an important priority for all of us. Unfortunately, crises will happen so it's best to have a sound budget and savings goals that can cope with life's emergencies.

Our savings options include:

Budget Calculator

To help you work out a savings plan, you can use our budget calculator which takes into consideration all of your general expenses and gives you an idea as to how much you could be saving.

Or visit our Managing Your Budget page for more helpful tips.

Remember – You are not in this alone, we are here to help.

Looking for a fee-free ATM?