Debt is taking over local lives
BUNDABERG residents are doing it tough, according to the Salvation Army.
New data has revealed locals seeking financial assistance through The Salvation Army's Moneycare financial counselling service are in extreme debt, with no way out but to seek help.
The findings show that those on the brink of financial crisis owe $2.55 for every dollar earned.
Bundaberg Moneycare's Wayne Chamberlin said it wasn't only those on benefits who were struggling with debt.
"I have spoken to quite a few people with good incomes who are in trouble,” he said.
"Whether it is because the housing market has gone flat or they have made some investments that haven't worked out, the fact is people from all walks of life are needing financial assistance in some way.”
Mr Chamberlin said high on the list of debt problems included paying electricity bills.
"That is definitely a big one,” he said.
"But ... there are ways to make your payments easier, for example, you can have your bill provided to you on a monthly basis rather than three-monthly.”
Mr Chamberlin said today's debt problems were a sign of the times.
"These days, when people want something they want it now,” he said.
"Then they realise that they have to pay all of that money back, they don't realise the consequences attached.”
"I also think employment is a difficult thing, as soon as people lose a job, things fall down around them quite quickly.”
A free financial help event will be held at Alexandra Park from 10.30am to 2.30pm on Friday.
Services including Moneycare, Centacare, UnitingCare Communities, IWC and more will feature at the event.
Tony Devlin, head of The Salvation Army's Moneycare service encouraged anyone who is under financial pressure to seek the help of a free and confidential community financial counsellor.
"Financial counsellors can advocate on your behalf and where appropriate, negotiate a payment plan with the people you owe money to,” he said.
"Additionally, No Interest Loans Schemes (NILS) provide safe and affordable credit to people for essential items. There are always people who are willing to help.”
To contact your nearest Moneycare service visit www.salvos.org.au/money care or call 1800007007.