Two things relating to money shocked me this week, one pleasantly, the other not so.
I discovered on Wednesday morning that a colleague who’s on contract had been informed the afternoon prior that her contract was not being renewed. She was quite distressed at the thought of having no more income in only a fortnight’s time. Listening to her story I was stunned when she said to me that, as she had just signed a lease on a rental property as well as a loan for a car, she’d have to go bankrupt. I told her immediately that was not a good idea, neither was contacting one of those companies that promise to roll all your debt repayments into “one easy monthly payment”, because of the excessive fees they charge.
I then showed her the list of lenders’ phone numbers for people in financial hardship on our website. These numbers are the ones you need to call straight away if you find yourself in difficulty. If you wait until you’ve missed a loan repayment before you make a call to the general enquiries number at your lender you won’t get a sympathetic ear. You really need to speak to the staff on those hardship lines who are trained to deal with people in trouble, rather than the random employee you get on a general line.
One call later and my colleague’s lender had given her a six month repayment holiday. Six months! Well done Westpac, seems you have a heart after all, albeit one you need to know how to find.
The second thing to surprise me was a moneybox I saw today in the window of our local chemist. Shaped like a poker machine, this moneybox is a coin-operated game that does nothing to discourage children from thinking that playing the pokies is a normal thing. If you’re after a responsible moneybox that actually teaches your kids to put money aside for charity as well as for things they want to buy, the Moonjar Moneybox is a ripper.