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Consumer Affairs
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Checking online


So, no one told you how difficult it was to get out of debt. They only told you how easy it was to borrow money. That’s marketing for you, and something the banks are past masters at. Debt disempowers hundreds of thousands of families. Shame and humiliation can set in when the lifestyle to which you aspire is taken away after months – even years – of stress and worry.

A single obsession can govern your life – the need to repay debt and save your home, car and possessions. You’re angry and frustrated.
“But, there is life after debt!’ says Deborah Solomon, of theDCI, and debt counsellor. “But you need to know how to reach out for it. Remember, knowledge is power. You empower yourself by gathering information. The internet is a good place to start.”
If you don’t have net access, she says, speak to a friend or family member who does and can help you visit The Debt Counselling portal at www.thedci.co.za.
After landing on the home page, select consumer button. Answer the questions honestly. Your answers determine the way out. The questions are basic:
Does your monthly income cover your debt? Does it cover your debt and your living expenses? If you answer ‘No’ to both, theDCI portal will warn you that you are over-indebted and should seek help from a debt counsellor.
Does your income allow you to just scrape through some months, but leaves you nothing left over that would help you cope with an emergency? If so, this self-help tool will indicate you are close to being over-indebted, though it may take an unexpected problem to trigger a debt crisis.
“You may need debt counselling help and it might be an idea to seek an early ‘debt review’,” she explains, “before the debt crunch comes.”
There are several more questions on issues such as ‘rolling money’ by using credit cards to hop from one debt problem to another. Or maybe you’ve been skipping debt payments or are tempted to take out more loans to cover existing debt? Do you have to pay for food on credit? Are you hiding your debt? Do you feel ashamed of your debt and don’t know how to get out of it? Is your sleep affected at night because all you think about is your debt?
“If yes is your answer to any of the above, go and see a debt counsellor,” says Solomon.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:25.12 1st December, 2012
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