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Thread: Debt Counselling Support Groups?

  1. #1
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    Debt Counselling Support Groups?

    As a newby I am enjoying reading all the articles on the topic of Debt Counselling, and am finding some sort of comfort. My husband was retrenched almost 4 years ago (and still unemployed), we had to dig into our savings account in order to pay the bills, but after a year of using our savings it finally ran out and our back-up plan was gone. Our only other option was DC. So here we are just over 3 years on, and still no "order of the court" received. It is both humiliating and embarassing to find yourself at this point in your life where you should have some sort of financial freedom but instead have to resort to being on DC. We never defaulted on any of our financial obligations, we have always paid our dues on time and were considered low risk lenders.

    Although the DC company we are using are reasonable, I just find that the whole emotion of being on DC gets to you eventually! I was wondering if there are support groups out there where experiences can be shared? I am hoping that this forum will provide some comfort on this, as I am quite impressed by the positive responses from those who posted replies to folk in the same situation.

    I can tell you that being on DC affects your work performance, it affects your emotional stability, your relationships, your whole being. You stress everytime someone parks outside your house, or when the doorbell rings, and when you received "blocked" calls on your cell phone in the office. It is all definately extremely stressfull. Added to this you have "love letters" (better known as summonses) thrown into your driveway awaiting your return home. When I drive up my street in the evenings I get nervous if I see other cars or vehicles parked nearby..... all this and we still have to be mindful of crime!!

    On the practical side, I am thankful that we have the DC process. From this experience I have learnt a lot. I have made a vow to never ever again possess a credit card with credit facilities (if you cant pay cash, you simply cannot affort it). I will never ever again want a store card or apply for a loan of any sort. In 5 years time I will be completely debt free (including the bond), and the money I would have been paying for debt will go straight back into a savings / investment account. Our outlook and lifestyle has already changed; it has become more simple, less complicated and hopefully soon way less stressful. Our court date is scheduled for 20th February - lets hope that it will not be postponed again!

  2. #2
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Durban, South Africa
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    I've been trying to assist a colleague through their DC ordeal, and you're absolutely right - it really does take its toll emotionally.

    Great to see you setting some positive goals through the experience, though

    Hang in there and keep your eye on the goal!
    Seeing opportunity changes nothing. Seizing opportunity and running with it changes lives.

  3. Thanks given for this post:

    Catz (01-Feb-12)

  4. #3
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    You can go to and see general information pertaining to all types of help for people in debt. There is a large section for debt counselling that tries to assist consumers who are in the process. I have been a debt counsellor for the past 3 years and theDCI was set up to help the industry as a whole, but in particular to give consumers truthful information about the process. There is as checklist so that you can ask your debt counsellor certain information to see how far you are in the process. We are also busy developing a forum for consumers as we know there is a need for additional support for consumers who are in debt review.

  5. #4
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    My wife and I have been on debt counselling since August 2011.
    We have managed to pay our instalments of R10’171.18 every month.
    We started falling behind from the end of Feb this year and paid about a week later (10 March)
    Then again a late payment for the next month was also a week later.
    Now May and June has not been paid at all yet as we simply do not have the full amount of R10’171.18 + R10’171.18
    I emailed the debt counsellors to ask if we can pay whatever we can (as we get money through the month) to start catching up and if they can then pay these small amounts towards our cars and house to show the creditors that we are at least paying something for now. The answer I got was…
    “Good day Gary,
    Unfortunately the process does not work that way.
    Payments need to be the full amount so when distribution takes place it’s a once off payment.
    You will have to get the payments up to date as soon as possible to avoid your creditors terminating because if they want to terminate and we don’t have proof of the correct payments we cannot protect you.
    Your other option is to sequestrate if you are struggling with the monthly payments towards the debt counselling.”
    OK. So here is my question.
    What is the point of Debt counselling if we HAVE to make the FULL payment each and every month. I mean, the whole point of being on debt counselling is that we are struggling with our debt. I think it is also because we work for ourselves and do not always have enough money at the end of the month as we don’t earn a fixed salary? So would it not be better for me to come off debt counselling so that I may pay something towards my cars and house bond?
    Also I keep getting asked to take their sequestration product? This is worse because an investor would buy my house at an auction price (80%) less than market price from the bank and then I would have to RENT my house from the investor at almost the same monthly price as I was paying? And this would be disastrous in the fact that if I miss a payment then, the investor could kick me out and I’ll be on the street in no time.
    I am really in a catch 22 situation and really need some serious advice. Also with the sequestration package I would be able to start paying for the cars with the finance companies as before? But I thought a Sequestration means that you cannot do this as everything in your personal portfolio would be scrapped and you would lose these financed items?
    Please Help. I would rather just come off Debt counselling and make arrangements with my house Bond and 2 cars myself and pay what I can for awhile so they can see I am trying and then as soon as things pick up again, pay the full instalments?

    I have a copy of the Sequestration Product if you would like me to post it!
    Any advice will do please.

    Many Thanks.

  6. #5
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    Hi Gary
    First off I do need to tell you that Sequestration is not necessary everything you may think it is. You won't necessarily rent your home from whoever buys it, and I can tell you that your car will be taken away from you for sure. Sequestration can only happen if there is enough assets within the estate where a profit can be made in order to pay off a reasonable amount to each of your creditors. It is highly unlikely, unless of course your outstanding bond balance is not that high, that you would make any money out of the sequestration of your home - everything will go to your creditors. You will be left without a roof over your head and without a car. On the flip side of this though, you are given a clean slate (if they actually consider the case to be "sequestrationable"), and you will not be allowed to enter into any credit agreements for the next 5 to 10 years.

    Then, if you decide to come off DC, which I actually DO NOT recommend, it is unlikely that the banks will accept a small payment towards your bond or car. What the banks will/might do is they would only restructured your bond over a new term, with the repayment being more or less the same as a "normal" payment. The same goes for your car and any other debt you may have; thus leaving you worse off than you are now, as it is unlikely you will be able to service the higher repayments.

    I highly recommend you consider staying on DC. The payments you are now paying were based on earning figures you would have provided your DC with, and they have already restructered lower payments for your creditors on your behalf, going any lower would probably not be possible. Unfortunately you are in a catch 22 situation, as you said. I have chatted to quite a few people who have been in the same situation as yourselves. the only recommendation i have for you is to make every effort to catching up with your outstanding payments. Some advice here is to cut down on ALL your living expenses - yes you can live on the bare minimum. I have had to live on R700 grocery money for a couple of months till I found a second job, which put more food on our plates and petrol in my car - and this with 3 adults and a grandchild - and me being the only breadwinner - so yes, everyone including the husband were unemployed at the time. horrible, horrible place to be - but we lived through it! You should also look around you, clean out cupboards, garages etc and have a garage sale in a nearby park where there is some traffic - time it right, probably month end will work best. but then EVERY CENT needs to go towards you catching up on payments. No take-outs, no new clothes, no computer games and other nonsense. Any gold items you may have can be sold to places like Diamond exchange where they weight the gold and pay you more or the less the current gold price.

    Your focus has to be paying off your debt, nothing else matters. Keeping your home is the next most important focus. I can tell you honestly that it was (and still is) through the grace of God and our faith in Him that we have managed to cope. Friends on the other hand could help you, if you are humble enought to ask and accept their help.

    so my advice is really:
    - stay on DC and catch up on your payments
    - pay on time - no matter what - debt first - food later
    - cut the fat on living expenses
    - work on a strict living expenses budget.
    - use your car only when you have to and drive economically - route plan.
    - Do a spring clean and sell the stuff you no longer need - every cent counts
    - Find a second job (I worked at nights and on Saturdays - it paid crap, but it definately helped). Waitering, sales person, internet typing jobs, facilitate training people on computers, music lessons if you play an instrument, car wash day at the school, during school hours - these are just some of the things we got involved in). And because we are not lazy, people were more than willing to pay us).

    You dont say whether your DC has been through the Magistrates court yet or not, but if it has, and you do not pay on time, you will be in contempt and will loose everything.

    Being on DC can work, but it needs your 100% commitment. My rainbow comes in 4 years time when I will be totally debt free - something very few South Africans will be able to boast about. And I have promised myself that if I cannot pay cash, I cannot offord it. Everytime I see someone taking out their credit card, I tell myself "that person with his fancy ass car, big house and expensive clothes, cannot afford it - all his stuff belongs to the banks.

    The real issue is to identify the reality and urgency of the situation, changing your attitude towards how you live, and focus on getting back on track.

    You and your family are in our prayers, and please feel free to chat at anytime.

  7. Thanks given for this post:

    Dave A (03-Jul-12)

  8. #6
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    Hi Catz,

    I must commend you on your sound advice! You will certainly reap the benefit of your dedication and resolve to become debt free! I can think of nothing more liberating than being free of debts!

    As a registered debt counsellor, I often meet people who expect us to perform some magic trick and make their debts disappear. Consumers must understand that they have a moral obligation to repay their debts and debt counselling is really a life-line for those who are over-indebted. Debt counselling enables them to repay all their debts whilst maintaining a reasonable standard of living. As long as there is full disclosure, honesty and trust between the debt counsellor and consumer, the consumer can rest assured that the debt counselling process will work.

    A debt counsellor will work out a budget, ensuring that all reasonable 'living expenses' are provided for before calculating the 'negotiation' amount. This exercise will be carried out by the consumer and debt counsellor during the first consultation. In order for the debt counselling process to work, the consumer must commit to adhere to the budget and pay the 'negotiation' amount deligently. Please note that if the 'negotiation' amount is not sufficient to expunge all debts within a reasonable period of time, the consumer will not qualify for debt counselling.

    It does take commitment, dedication and sacrifice, but debt counselling is a sure way of becoming debt free. However, it is imperative that the services of a registered and reputable debt counsellor is enlisted. Like any other business, there are fraudsters posing as debt counsellors out there, so beware.

  9. Thanks given for this post:

    Dave A (02-Sep-12)

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