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  1. Yesterday
  2. Kiwisaver and bankruptcy continued

    An update on student loan debt. It would generally get written off in a bankruptcy. Mine has been. The Tax Administration act requires that IRD write off debt, but only if there is no chance of them being not able to recoup the money during the term of the bankruptcy. That is up to the Official Assignee to decide when a bankrupt can make contributions to a bankruptcy. But there is an income threshold that must be crossed before bankrupts must pay money to the OA. That threshold (for a single person with no dependants is just under $30,000 per year). The weekly repayment threshold I think is $20 per week or more. The three year bankruptcy term is for the Official Assignee to take the assets and distribute them to the creditors. After they pay themselves first. This is one reason why I am wanting a bill to go through parliament because the OA can clock up hundreds of thousands of dollars in new debt administering just one bankrupt's estate. The bankrupt must pay that if they have the money, then the petitioning creditors court costs, lastly the actual creditors only get paid after that. If the bankrupt doesn't have the money, then that administration debt falls on the tax payer. Already the new debt against me in 5 months is more than $11,500.00 plus the original creditor debt still exists, until I am discharged in three years.
  3. Using savings to pay off debt?

    Becoming bankrupt is a huge life changing experience. When I look back over the years prior to April, I can see now how my debt was gradually increasing over the years. I needed to actually build new habits - which I am still working on today. Because being in debt for me was just a way of life. Its like a security blanket as well, if you run out of money, just call up the bank and increase your overdraft or your credit limit, in a phone call that takes less than 10 minutes. A feeling of relief comes over you knowing the money would always be there. There is a lot of psychology around money and debt. I caught myself one day when I wanted to make a purchase and for a split second the thought and the image came into my brain - I'll put it on the credit card. Prior to the bankruptcy I would have acted on that impulse. I do think more carefully now, but its still hard to change old habits. Its most important to first know if you are actually insolvent, because that has legal consequences and our laws do not adequately protect the debtor from ruthless debt collectors and their solicitors. Yes they exploit the legal loopholes in our laws also. When I realised I was insolvent after doing the networth and budget excerise I decided to do something about it, but it was too late then to change the outcome because my debt was too large. Even then though, the banks still kept trying to offer me more lending by way of consolidation loans. When I realised what they were actually doing, and why they were doing it, I finally said No More. Things got ugly when they realised I was going to have to default on the debt. Over a persons life time they can end up paying thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars to a bank or credit card company in lending and interest. They calculate what is called the life time value of the customer. Banks also retain customer profiles for life, even if you close your account and go to another bank. What bankruptcy doesn't teach you directly is how to generate wealth and create lasting cashflow. Thats what I have missed out on being in debt. I missed out on learning valuable money management and life skills. Get a plan and the strategies that others have mentioned in these posts will hold you in good stead. You're lucky you still get to chose how to pay back your debt, and how you spend your money.
  4. Last week
  5. Using savings to pay off debt?

    @RichLife - thanks for the tag,much appreciated. @JSM - good stuff taking the reins of all this now and not burying your head in the sand. My thoughts ... like @Ford quite rightly said, establish exactly how much you owe, when and to whom. Also Ford also gives good honest accounts into experiences with bankruptcy - see previous posts to learn more. 1. As mentioned above, spreadsheet all your incoming and outgoings, with due dates, amounts owing and to whom to see exactly what you're dealing with and you'll have a modicum of control knowing where you're at. And not necessarily in this order, some suggestions ... some of which I am probably repeating what Ford mentioned. ... 2. Contact the bank/other debtors to see if you can negotiate a cheaper rate, knock off any fees if applicable (I did - the banks I dealt with were good when I was paying off those hideous credit cards and I got late fees wiped in exchange for committing to paying X amount per week/payment in full and final settlement and pulling the 'I've been a customer for X no of years' line). Re credit card/overdraft debt - crucial to kiss those bloodsuckers goodbye asasp, because unfortunately providers seem obsessed with stupid credit checks and reporting, and black marks against your record can affect your ability to borrow if you need to down the track. As for the car - potential profit by selling it and buying a cheapo in cash? Any other gear you own that could be sold for some extras $$ , say through Trademe, Facebook marketplace etc 3. Re automatic payments - potentially a good time to review and shop around for better deals for potential savings. 4. Great that you have some funds in the black re $26k - once debts gone, suggest holding a good balance of that aside for an emergency fund in case the fridge breaks, car breaks down etc, you can live for, say, 6 months sans credit card. Also as Richlife said, contributing to Kiwisaver (I think it's $1042.86 needed to be put in during the tax year to receive the govt contribution of $521), but I think this may be the maximum contribution to get the $521. 5. The written budget is EVERYTHING. Monthly, weekly, whatever works. Seriously. We started doing a method by US financial conservative whip-you-into-shape,host and author, Dave Ramsey as per @paul butler who posted a vid on reporting under debt tag on this blog around March 2017. Highly recommend checking YouTube for DR vids (The Dave Ramsey Show). DR basicallyadvocates living like living like a puritan to get out of debt; no dinners out, no holidays, nada until you're in a position where there's some cushioning to stop you going into further debt. Have been doing his suggestions since March this year and have not had to use a credit card, even with an irregular run of the mill income, still saving, and at times, patience has been tested when things going pearshaped re car repairs and dental bills, and no credit cards made a cameo appearance. DR recommends paying the smallest debt first (as opposed to the one with the highest interest rate) so you can get some quick wins by eliminating those debts (though this will depend on your priorities - and the spreadsheeting will help you work out what needs to go back to Debtville). That budget will ensure you know what's due for payment, with $$ set aside for essentials like food, petrol, fun money, etc etc. Fingers crossed, you get to a point where you ask yourself 'do I really need this?' and taking control of your finances, rather than finances controlling you, then, phew, some life stressors hopefully goneburger! Let's know how it's going- good luck (it took about 4 months to sort out a budget that was highly effective, but getting sick and tired of being sick and tired spurred some serious action).
  6. Using savings to pay off debt?

    I would get rid of any interest-bearing debt as soon as possible. Then use some of what you have leftover as an emergency fund. Start a budget: Break down all of your income and expenses into a weekly budget in excel. Go through your accounts and terminate recurring services you don't need or use. Once everything is under control take a step back and look at the whole picture - what can be tweaked? So basically I would say: Pay off consumer debt, contribute to Kiwisaver to get the maximum member credit, then hammer your mortgage. Have a look at some posts on 'The Smart and Lazy' - it's a good blog for advice on finances. Then for the future, check out some simple investment options from Simplicity, Smartshares, or Superlife - good posts on The Smart and Lazy about this. People like @Spendin / @paul butler / @KEZZA should be able to offer some good advice
  7. Earlier
  8. Using savings to pay off debt?

    Ford, I really appreciate all you have written, and the time it must have taken means a lot to me. I will take my time to digest all you have said, but I am sure it will be very helpful. There is so much there that I had no idea about! I definitely need to get educated. I am committed to spending time each day to start making a plan. I need skills, I need to stop overspending, and I need to look at my expenses with regards to my actual income. My rent for a start is a challenge. Thanks so much. I will update as I see progress!!
  9. Using savings to pay off debt?

    Hi, Thats an important question. I don't know the answer, but I can give you some advice from the point of view I speak from, and that is as a a bankrupt. That is where my indebtedness led me. What I realised too late was that the party was over long before I realised it. So I was left to try and pickup the pieces. One of the most important things was for me, was to find out immediately if my debt was actually increasing overtime, before I made any decision. I created a spreadsheet, picked the last day of the month and rang each bank and listed all of the actual cash I held with each bank. I then listed all of the debt I owed. I arrived at a networth figure that was minus. I then did the same excercise for the previous two months. Getting the figures as to how much cash I had as to how much debt I had. Over three months my debt was actually increasing. My regret is that I did not do that exercise when I first took on debt, if I had I would not be bankrupted today. Three months is enough to see a pattern forming. Next I created a budget and the important thing was that whilst repaying my debt I could not afford basic living expenses. And that was part of the reason my debt continued was because I didn't ensure my income at least met basic living before anything else. That is the most important consideration. Because if you were to default on debt, you still need to pay basic living expenses regardless of whether you are in debt or not. Try and have separate savings which should be at least three months worth of living expenses in case you lose your job. You may be able to forward pay some utility providers like your power and phone. I do that. If you have a lot of living expenses, work out how much they cost over a year and then pay them a fixed amount each month. Put money aside in named accounts for other things like car maintenance etc and only use those accounts for that purpose. You can budget for those also for the year. If you know the term liquidation. It is when company goes bankrupt. Directors and financial advisors that allow that to happen have much more skill than just being able to budget, but still they incur too much debt and their businesses fail. Your spending habits are typical of a lot of people, I think. If you can afford to pay off the debt in its entireity over a three to five year period, without getting further into debt, then that could be an option. The way to protect your cash or any other asset is to put a legal framework around it, like a trust or a company, or purchase an appreciating asset, or at least something that will hold its value. I made the mistake of using debt to buy liabilities. Resolve to never do that again. If you use debt it should be at least to create an asset and use it for one specific purpose. For me, I have terrible impulse control so I have to set up specific things in my enviroment to ensure I can't get into debt again. Focus on cashflow and building income, and this may sound stupid but you need to protect it like there are wild dogs after it. Donald Trump uses the term, sharks. Because if there is one thing that I have learned being bankrupt, is not only does your debt not reduce in the period of the bankruptcy, but that the government will stop at nothing to make sure they will take all the available cash and assets of yours that can be converted to cash. And that includes forcing you into further hardship. The banks and lenders, and indeed the goverment use tremendous tricks and legal strategies to keep people in debt for life. They can do so because often we are not smart enough to know what we are truly taking on when we borrow money. Corporates survive on our lack of education. My opinion, the best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to first, stop incurring new debt. Then get educated about how money works and focus on building real wealth. Even if you spend an hour a week to start with and then build it into a daily habit. If you can spend even 15mins each day learning how to become wealthly, you will be light years ahead of the rest of the population. Another skill to learn is the art of negotiation. From a banks point of view you are not good at it if you have debt listed on your credit reports. To get out of debt before you become actually insolvent you need strong negotiating skills. There will always be people and organisations that will stop at nothing to get you to hand over your cash, that is the "party" you mentioned. Let my bankruptcy story be a lesson in what happens when you get too far down the debt road, please turn away from debt and take control of your life, while you still can. Ford.
  10. Using savings to pay off debt?

    Morning. I am in a dilemma and have been for a while. I received my share of a home when my marriage ended some years ago. I have whittled this down while renting, and to be honest, overspending. I am not proud of this but want to try and protect what I have left which is in the vicinity of 26000. To be fair, I didn't receive a huge settlement, but wish I had bought another house at the time. Anyhow, I am in this position now with quite a bit of money going out and I am using my savings every second week to supplement my rent payments. My question is, do I use some of my savings to pay 2000 left on my credit card and the few thousand left on my car, and the 2000 overdraft I have, or is it more sensible to try and set up a budget and continue paying these off? I also have many APs set up for weekly bills. I know it would be necessary to have more information to be able to fully inform me, but it would help me to have some ideas!! I do intend to set up a budget and I know I have some work to do in looking at my debt, my spending habits, and planning a way forward. I have skills in budgeting and lived for years in near poverty, so know what its like to struggle. I think that was a big part of the problem, when I got a good job and a settlement, I wanted some things for my children and me that we'd never had. Anyway as they say "party's over!" I look forward to anything anyone can offer me in terms of advice!!
  11. Intro

    Hi there. I have just signed up and wanted to say hello!! I have a forum name but my name is Jacqui! I am desperate for advice but need to have a look and see where I ask it !!
  12. Hello

    Hello, I've recently become a happy first home apartment owner. It's great and a good learning curve too and I am glad to see myself becoming more financially focussed. Hmm, learning what 'going unconditional' means, paying rates, body corp fees etc hava all been new this year. I've found the budgeting tool here very helpful. It's helped me enable myself to organise my budget in a way that I feel more confident and on-track with- yay! Currently I am time-rich, working part-time, but next I'll need to increase my income. I want to learn how to organise my time and my income too. I seem to have a lot of 'want to do's and ideas which I'd really like to pursue. I know I would benefit from learning more about money management, worth, value, investment and protection. As I have time now, I'd like to create some different opportunities that are not just about 'being busy working at a job' but include more holistic life needs and fulfillment. I tend to be quite a creative thinker. In a way, I'd like to learn how to balance community things, saving for retirement, career development, family, health, car upgrade, tithing, home maintenance, business ideas... I'm glad to be able to be part of this community. I hope I will be able to contribute as well as benefit from it! With regards, Karen
  13. Change our bankruptcy laws

    Hi, I don't know the answer to that yet, but I will try and find out. This is part of the reply from the NZ Gazette. "We have recently reviewed our procedures and access to published information, and as a result we will not be restricting access to published Gazette notices online. The New Zealand Gazette is the journal of constitutional record, and blocking access to notices, whether they be current or historic, is inconsistent with its purpose of making information part of the public record. This includes access through search engines such as Google. The Gazette publishes notices provided by others and is not responsible for the insolvency process or the insolvency legislation. Notices must be published in accordance with relevant legislation which, as above, means notices will not be amended or removed from public availability. However, if there is a concern in regards to your safety, please send through evidence, for example a form or letter from a relevant agency, so we can consider your request. We would also need to liaise and get agreement with the Insolvency Office, who is responsible for the notice, for any potential changes." there are different laws, like the insolvency act, that allow certain information to be made public. That law was made in 2006 and the internet wasn't the same back then. Originally I think it was to give creditors some way of finding out if a person who was bankrupt tried to continue borrowing money or using the bankruptcy laws to get out of paying their debts. A lot of our laws are years out of date. NZ follows a lot of what other countries do, and the term "debtors prison" has been around for centuries. Bankruptcy is the modern version of it. Borrowing money and not paying it back is still a crime today. In law, it makes no difference whatsover as to the circumstances that the insolvency occured. The jails would not be able to hold all the people who default on debt so all they can do is to ensure that label stays with them for life and strip away our privacy and legal rights. Once a person becomes bankrupt the OA's job is to try and recover the money from the debtor. They then look for crime. They do a lot of work behind closed doors looking for evidence. The three year term is so the OA can use that timeframe to recover money from the debtor. Money is also the big driving factor, and the OA won't bring any claims to court if they cannot retrieve money from the debtor. In the insolvency act there is only one small section of law that absolves debtors from being prosecuted, and that is section 427 which states that the bankrupt must prove they had no intention to defraud creditors. Again the assumption of insolvency is that the debtor has committed a crime. That's why the penalties are so harsh and life long. The Gazette is a journal of constitution, apparently. Well that constitutional record is violating our privacy, and making us more vulnerable to identity theft. Even Veda's (Equifax) credit report passwords are not secure, that information can be obtained via the information that is made public on the insolvency office website. Bankruptcy quite literally shows our laws do not consider the wellbeing and the rights of the people first. Because they do nothing to stop the corporate crime and corruption that runs rampant in our country. People who have formal insolvency procedures forced against them, become part of that corrupt system whether they like it or not. Our outdated laws have created serious legal loopholes that are being exploited. The government is aware of what goes on. But when corporations are behind it they are slow to do anything about it. All we can do ourselves is to educate each other about the truth, and keep campaiging to change our laws so we don't continue to be taken advantage of. It takes two parties to create debt. I've worked in the accounting industry long enough to know that our lack of financial and legal knowledge is being severely exploited. We need to stand up and protect ourselves, because there is nothing that I have seen thus far, that leads me to believe that our government intends to even begin putting right the terrible injustices that continue to plague the good people of this country. Ford
  14. Change our bankruptcy laws

    Look up insolvency watch - bizarre that this guy has made a business out of charging subscribers for access to publicly available information. What is the govt rationale for making all of this information public in the first place?
  15. Change our bankruptcy laws

    I'll post this again. Something has gone wrong with the text Journal updates Update for December 2017 The bankruptcy story was to be published in the Senior community paper but after being in circulation for just a few months that paper is closing. So I guess that will go on hold for awhile. In the meantime other developments. I requested a copy of my file that the OA holds against me. What a shock to find an email in amongst it. It seems that Mr Warwick Jones (insolvency watch) has been calling up the OA's office and asking about my personal life. Its really horrible being stalked by that man. I contacted the OA and they withheld my address on their insolvency register. I also contacted the DIA. I learned that the insolvency watch website picks up the listings from the NZ Gazette. This is the same person who I mentioned in the earlier post. There is something tremendously wrong with our government systems when a random person can ring the OA's office and discuss the private life of a bankrupt. Mr Jones is not even a creditor in the bankruptcy against me. If I don't hear back from the DIA, I will try and get a restraining order. Cross your fingers for me that I can get legal aid. The other information on the file held by the OA, is the threshold for the repayment of bankruptcy debt. For a single person it is just under $30,000.00 per year. I don't know if that is gross or net. But I suspect it is net. Repayments also have to be more than $20 per week. Also the OA writes to the banks and advises the banks should let them know if the bankrupt holds more than $1200 in the bank at any one time. I asked the OA if they could increase it to $5000 but again the laws prevent that. The bankrupt is only allowed to hold $1200 in a bank account for the purpose of maintenance. You cannot save any money towards emergencies or other living expenses when it exceeds that amount. Currently I only work parttime and have medical issues, which the OA knows about. I wanted to save enough so if I had to stop working due to ill health I would have enough money to pay my rent etc. But this is not allowed. I can't save any money either towards retirement. The only thing I can do is to withdraw excess money from my bank accounts. The OA does take bankrupts to court to force them to pay them money if they are earning over the threshhold. I will try and find out more about the threshholds, apparently the information comes from WINZ. Other information - the OA's trust account is with ANZ Bank I read the Coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First, (the parts that were published) and in it is a sentence that states:- "Investigate growing KiwiBank’s capital base and capabilities so that it is positioned to become the Government’s Banker when that contract is next renewed" Thats it for now. I'll post again after xmas Please don't get into debt this xmas. If you are in debt, then make it a rule to never file for any insolvency procedure. Bankruptcy and NAPs are made public for life. And you don't want Mr Warwick Jones asking the OA about your private life. Its just not worth it, people. Ford
  16. Christmas is coming, so is the New Year debt?

    Thankfully our family has moved away from gifts. Removes the pressure and refocuses the end of year holidays on the important stuff - family fun, not credit card craziness. Accounting for end of year food and merriment in our weekly budget helps too.
  17. So ... the Silly Season is fast approaching. What are yule doing to protect against nasty debt hangovers? Setting limits on the spend? Having a staycation instead of a big holiday? We've said nope to excessive gift-giving and said yes to contributing to food and fun without starting 2018 in something resembling a post-Xmas debt nightmare(!) If the holidays derail the hard work of the budget that's been stuck to all year, then what's it all for? Here's to a stress-free break.
  18. Expense tracking...

    Hi I did send you an email on 23rd October Did you not recieve it? Ford
  19. Expense tracking...

    Hi Ford, Send me an email if you are still keen to discuss... Cheers, Yaniv
  20. Hiya, So I know that I have multiple retirements savings with different institutions. Is there a central place where I can find a list of who has what under my name/IRD number? I think some are Kiwisavers and some aren't. Some are with banks and some with insurance/investment companies. After finding all the funds I would like to merge them together for economies of scale (fees and returns) and ease of finding them when I'm older! Will this be possible? Cheers.
  21. Change our bankruptcy laws

    October 2017 Hi Progress so far. I have contacted the Auckland Council to ask about their bylaws. One of the members of the Birkenhead Residents Association is making public on his personal website the names and addresses of people who are bankrupt. A complaint to the guy resulted in him changing the coding on his website so now my name appears in bold font so it stands out. There is nothing the Auckland Council can do. I was hoping they could ask him to take down the insolvency pages, but no action was taken. As part of my research, I will write to the residents of Birkenhead who appear on this man's website also and see if they will complete a survey. I made a request to the Official Assignee for the entire contents of the estate file they hold against me. I have to wait 20 working days but hopefully it will fill in some gaps. I have spoken to the IRD to try and get information about the debt they sent through to the OA. The IRD's insolvency office is supposed to be calling me this week. I've also been speaking to a company called Financial Services Complaints Ltd. (FSCL) Baycorp is one of their members. But EC Credit Control is not. I asked what is the difference because to me they are just debt collectors. But there is a difference. A very significant one. The members of the FSCL are actually debt buyers. Debt buyers have to be part of an external disputes resolution scheme. They just might be able to tell me who in fact has legal right to the debt against me that Baycorp has tried to collect on. It was originally with ANZ then went to Collection House then on to Baycorp. This is part of the huge legal loophole that lets debt collectors harrass people and try to force them into contracts. As I understand it, debt has two parts, the debt equity which can be sold, or the entire contract can be sold so the debt collector then becomes the legal creditor. ANZ's district court claim against my company, they were listed as the Plaintiff, not Baycorp. But as with the BNZ debt against me, the same lawyer can represent both the creditor and the debt collector, this occurs with Baycorp and ANZ as well. The solicitor who signed the court documents as solicitor for the plaintiff ANZ, turns out to be an in-house lawyer for Baycorp. The document server rang me up wanting me to meet him away from the property, rather than bringing the documents to the registered office of the company, which is what is the correct legal process. There are lots of pieces of deception like that, that I conclude that the reason for collector harrassment and there being any lack of supervision in the industry, is to force the debtor to enter into a contract with the debt collector. Because now the debt is outside of the banking regulations. That means any obligation between the original creditor and debtor ceases to exist. The rights that the debtor had agreed to wth the creditor under an original contract also cease to exist. So the debt collector is free to add any costs they like to the debt. I actually received an email from Neighbourhood support head office warning that debt collectors have been contacting their co-ordinators trying to get information from them. This is a pure violation of privacy, but because of our laws, there is nothing stopping them from them doing so. Debt collectors also contact accountants as well, asking for contact information. Just like the member of the Birkenhead Residents Association making public our private information. This is just one reason why debt collectors need to be regulated. Something else I found out about the banks relating to debt. Shadow banking. Anyone heard of it? Its a practice that Kiwibank use. Thats all for now. I still have to write to the NZTA. Thats the next job. And while I'm on the subject of privacy, please make sure you don't give out other people's private information to anyone, for any reason. I say, treat debt collectors the same as you would for any financial scammer. Debt collectors operate outside of our laws and are violating our rights. Yes some people do enter into agreements with debt collectors, but can you be sure that you do actually have a legal obligation to pay them. How do you know they are not adding collection costs and charging rates of interest that were never part of an original contract with the original creditor. Your legal obligation is to the original creditor, don't be tricked into agreeing to debt or repayments with a debt collector, because you will lose your legal rights, even to dispute the claims in court.
  22. Expense tracking...

    Ford, yes absolutely, this is very useful. You have given me a lot of food for thought. I know that other people also use the method of creating separate bank accounts for different expense types. Interestingly I initially thought that lower-income families and individuals would have a more-acute problem with controlling their expenses and following a budget plan; however after talking to a few people, I think that this may not necessarily be the case - even people who earn well above the average still have this problem. I think it comes down to a 'control' struggle, rather than 'not enough money' problem. However it may be more stressful when you actually don't have enough money to start with.. (I wonder what others in this forum think?) Thanks for all the tips. will be happy to hear from you via email.
  23. How to spend the banks way

    This from a blog article post by a large NZ bank. "Spend the bank’s money This one sounds enticing, doesn’t it? If you know you can pay off your card in full at the end of the month to avoid paying any interest, then go ahead and use your card to buy stuff during the month....." My version of what that post should say "Spend the bank's money. This one sounds scary, doesn't it? And it should be. Cost of borrowing is extremely expensive. If you know you can pay off your card in full at the end of the month to avoid paying interest, well done. Just make sure you don't continue to use the card to buy stuff you don't need" See the subtleness of the bank's post. They are asking a question that uses a word to temp your impulses. Asking questions actually triggers the brain to find a response. Enticed means to attract or tempt by offering pleasure or advantage. Ford
  24. Expense tracking...

    Hi Yynz Thanks for your interest. I have noted your email and will send you one over the weekend. People don't realise there are a lot of subtle influences that affect our behaviours and actions we take. For me personally I have had to learn to become more self aware and actually notice when I am acting on my impulses which are driven by the lower parts of the brain as opposed to planning and making better decisions based on what is right for my situation. That process is done by different parts of the brain. Advertising and marketing is designed to trigger impulse buying. I love to use fishing as an example. Businesses tempt you with cheap and free gifts, then once they have hooked you, they get you to sign a contract (reel you in) so you will be paying money to providers of goods and services for years to come (think about the fish on the top of the rod). That could be why people blow their budgets and can't stick to them. Addictive purchases like gambling, alcohol, food etc don't seem to make it correctly on to a budget either. So the budget may not have been workable from the beginning. Everytime a new purchase is made a new expense needs to be added to the budget and the figures have to be reworked. So if you can solve that problem would be a tremendous step forward. Banks and money lenders go to a lot of effort to make sure its simple and easy to get into debt. They lull you into a false sense of security. To answer your questions I use an eftpos card or a travel card, which works like a debit card. I do not have a credit card. I don't generally use cash, but one of the family budgeting services do teach people to use cash. I haven't tried it long enough to see if it works. Some strategies I use that work are using the word "hardship" on my side of the online banking payments I make to one of my voluntary creditors (from the bankruptcy). If you hand over a bankstatement to a potential lender with hardship listed regularily on it, they are going to run mile. I actually saved hundreds of dollars and still had the cash to actually pay for the item. Whilst I'm not the best at sticking to a budget, I find it works to have separate named bank accounts like Emergency, household replacement, legal, car repairs etc. And only put money in or out for the purpose with which its intended (amounts which match my budget) How to find people - become a debt collector and offer your services to accountants and be an advocate for the debtor. Talk to community groups who help low income families. Christians Against Poverty (CAP) are always looking for volunteers to help with their debt centres they are setting up. Join a budgeting service. Network with all sorts of people in the community. Go to the industry leaders and influencers of various sectors who help people with finance.....etc etc. Hope that is useful. Ford
  25. Expense tracking...

    Hi Ford, Sorry to hear about your financial troubles! I completely understand, and the banks don't help. I actually think that most people lack self control, me included. but there are varying degrees. So similar to RichLife's comment that everyone struggles to follow a budget and for some people it is harder. Financial literacy should be taught at school as a life skill. So do you just use cash now? The reason I am asking is because I am working on a solution to solve this self control problem, to some degree. As it is something I have experience myself, I believe it could be made easier for a lot of people. How do I find those people who struggle to follow a budget? I would love to have a chat with you if you're keen. let me know... yaniv@invetyx.nz Thanks!
  26. Expense tracking...

    Speaking as a a bankrupt, even before I became so, following a budget is tremendously difficult for me. A lack of self control is huge issue in overspending. The banking and debt collection industries also prey on people who are easily persuaded and lack self control. Even though I was in debt substantially to ANZ they still rang and offered me money (which I stupidly accepted) with no contracts to sign for three months. They then overstated substantially their Uncommitted monthly reports so it would look like I could easily afford to pay back the money. It wasn't until several months later I realised I had been severely screwed and trapped into debt, quite simply because I said Yes to the banks offer. Even though I am bankrupt the Official Assignee has forced a further $11,000 in new debt against me in bankruptcy admin costs. No budget will help with that. Today I still pay back the debt to original creditors outside of the bankruptcy system, because creditors won't get paid otherwise because the official assignee gets paid first. And continuing to pay creditors will be a deterrent so I can never get into debt again, and should stop the courts from forcing further debt against me. Financial literacy was not taught in school when I was there, nor was I taught it by my parents. For me I have had to learn to quite literally create new habits and skills to even just survive on the cash I have. I have now set up specific deterrents in my enviroment so I cannot be lured into debt. And those strategies actually work well. I do have poor impulse control and its taken years to learn how to make better decisions and learn how not to follow cravings and impulses. I do have a budget, and cashbased networth position spreadsheet which I created myself from scratch. They help me to see the truth about my financial situation. But what they can't do is to control the urges and cravings I have to sometimes spend outside my budget. Money lenders spend substantial money marketing to people like me who are uneducated and unskilled. I have had to learn very strong strategies to stop being lured into further debt. One of those strategies is to close a bank account with a NZ bank who uses, what they tell me is called shadow banking or shadow limits, that they don't make known to the public.
  27. Expense tracking...

    I think everyone struggles to follow a budget at first, but for some people it is harder. People generally fall on a continuum of how much self control they have. Those with less self control will find it much harder because they may only be thinking short term, or they may get distracted by present wants. The fact that self control plays a major role in peoples lives is based on research, in particular the 'Dunedin Study' which has followed a large number of kiwis since birth. For example, see here. Obviously if you lack self-control you can take steps to become more aware of it, and implement systems to make it easier to stickto your budget (e.g. automate as much as you can with automatic payments between sub accounts so your income is immediately split up and apportioned appropriately). I think the reason most people overspend is because they don't track their money at all, they weren't taught financial literacy at school or by their parents, or they focus on other areas of their life and assume everyone has terrible finances. I think you're definitely right about your last statement. The hard part is sitting down and listing every single expense you are going to have, breaking it into a weekly/fortnightly/monthly amount, and adding it all into a budget.
  28. Expense tracking...

    cool. I wonder is it is super easy for some to follow a budget, but not for others; otherwise less people would be overspending, right..? As far as I understand most people overspend... Maybe having a budget is the first step - which is the harder one to make, and then following it is easier? ...
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