Prioritising debt

The consequences of failing to pay your debts are far-reaching and may affect your future.

 

What are the consequences of not paying your debts?

 

Apart from the anxiety you may experience, debt may have dramatic real-world consequences. These may include:

  • You could be evicted from your home if you cannot pay your rent, mortgage or rates.

  • If you do not pay your rent you may be listed on TICA, Australia’s largest tenancy database. This will make it harder for you to have a future rental application accepted.

  • You may be placed on a default list if your mortgage lapses or any other debts remain unpaid. This could affect your future borrowing opportunities.

  • Legal action may be taken. This could lead to loss of property, bankruptcy and legal seizure of your wages.

  • Your electricity, phone and internet may be disconnected.

  • Your debt may be sold to debt collection agencies where it may continue to grow.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you get on top of your debts.

 

Prioritising your debts

The first step towards financial freedom is getting on top of your debts and knowing how prioritise them. Of course, we all see debts differently and have different ideas about what’s most important. We suggest you gather the paperwork for each debt and separate the debts into 2 piles; ‘Priority debts’ and ‘Non-Priority debts’.

 

Priority debts are those where non-payment will have serious consequences. For instance, if you don’t pay your rent you may be evicted from your home or if you don't pay your electricity bill your home may be without power.

 

Non-priority debts are still important but you may simply incur a late fee, or have your service suspended if you cannot pay on time. You may like to consider cancelling or postponing non-essential services until your situation improves.

 

What options exist?

Unless creditors know about your situation, they can’t help. So, contact them as soon as possible and explain your situation. They are legally obliged to consider your request for leniency due to financial hardship.

 

Electricity is an essential service that most households rely on daily. To help you keep the lights on, you can apply for a Home Energy Emergency Assistance Scheme grant. The Scheme can help by paying a portion of your energy bill.

 

You can also call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 and talk about your options with one of our Financial Counsellors.

Preventative measures


There are steps you can take to prevent your debts from escalating. By living within your budget and not overspending, you’ll be able to make the repayments to your creditors and reduce your debt.

One
Create a budget
Create a budget that allows you to repay your debts and pay for your most essential services, such as rent, electricity and food. If you’re unsure where to start, read our helpful guide on creating a budget.
Contact the creditor
One of the best ways to prevent your debts from escalating is to talk to your creditors and agree upon a repayment schedule.
Talk with a financial counsellor
Contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

Additional information

women meeting with finance councillor
Looking for guidance?
Contact us today to organise a meeting with one of our financial counsellors.

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