Give Experiences Not Things

xmas cupcake

  •  Picnic
    • A delicious packed picnic in a remote location is an amazing experience. Nothing quite like cheese and a fresh breeze.
  • Day at the Museum
    • Museums are an amazing cheap day out. You can spend a day looking at the most interesting things that happened in the last several 100 million years in the one location. All children love dinosaurs.
  • Art Gallery
    • A little culture is an easy and cheap day out. Pretend you’re in France and throw a baguette, cheese and a bottle of wine in a bag. Try and find your favourite painting and the one you can’t stand.
  • Ferry Ride and Train Rides
    • As adults we can become a bit blasé about trains and ferry rides, but if you’re a small child it’s AMAZING! The whole processes of buying a ticket, finding your seat and watching the world go by is thrilling for small children.
  • Fun Run
    • Running with tens of thousands of people is an exhilarating experience. It’s also something to work towards during the year and a way to lose those Christmas kilograms.
  • Cooking Class
    • A cooking class is the gift that gives back. Generally running over 2-4 hours, some involve wine and all involve eating delicious food. If you’re in a rut at meal times it can be a great way to break out.
  • Roller Skating
    • It’s a bit kitsch but roller skating around a rink, while awful pop tunes play, possibly holding hands with your spouse is a fantastic time. Extra points if you share a milkshake with them.
  • Wine/Beer Tasting
    • Go to your local bottle shop and pick a selection of beer or wine from different producers and years. Print off some tasting notes from the web and you’ve got yourself a very entertaining present
  • Dance Lessons
    • The best thing about ball room is that even if they’re not Channing Tatum, white men can dance it. It requires no hip shimmying and has clear steps. Perfect for men. It’s actually a lot of fun as a man and your wife will love it.
  • Babysitting
    • A gift that costs “nothing” and will be enormously appreciated is offering to babysit for someone. When you’re a new parent you can get full blown cabin fever. The only problem is that they might not come back.


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Real Things that Makes Christmas Great

Ritual/Tradition – At Christmas we get to engage in ritual and tradition and hand them on to the next generation. Traditions create a magic that make Christmas memorable. Traditions are important in families because they create a sense of identity.  Handing on a tradition originating from your Grandparents to your kids helps them develop a sense of who they are, and creates a sense of comfort. When they smell plum pudding they’ll remember the amazing Christmases of their childhood.

Family – Christmas is pretty much the only time of the year when everyone stops. It’s a valuable time to reconnect with relatives we might not have seen in a year. It’s also about spending time with those you see every day but uninterrupted by the distractions of the work week.  The best thing about spending time with family at Christmas is generally everyone is filled with goodwill. Show some love and compassion to your family this Christmas.

Down Time – Christmas is the best time of year for holidays. Never do so many public holidays come at once. If you want to make your holidays stretch it’s best to schedule them around Christmas.  Take the time to reflect on the year that’s been.  Celebrate the wins, learn and forgive yourself for the losses and enjoy. Make plans and goals for the year ahead.

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Life & Debt, There is Always Hope.

Debt HopeWe have transferred a number of first time callers to Lifeline because they talked about committing suicide. It is not an everyday occurrence but it happens often enough that we now have a policy and provide training for all our staff.

Someone being suicidal over debt problems is a tragedy and something that breaks my heart.  As someone who’s reasonably fluent in debt solutions, there are so many other options, including people and organisations that are there to help.

I think the main reason people feel this way is because many are ignorant of the consequences of not paying debt and the solutions available. In the absence of concrete knowledge, our fears expand, which can cause us to imagine doomsday scenarios and lives ruined forever. But this is not the case.

The worst case scenario is probably bankruptcy. Significant law reform over decades, means that bankruptcy is now about providing a fresh start for people, rather than punishing them.

Most people will make no payments to their creditors under bankruptcy and suffer no consequences other than not being able to obtain any finance for five years.

If people have a house, it might be sold, that is true — however you will not be evicted immediately. Trustees will grant time in order to accumulate a rental bond and find appropriate housing.

Bankruptcy is a pretty amazing temporary solution when faced with overwhelming debt and depending on the specifics of your situation, there are a range of other options.


If you’re experiencing financial hardship, we can help.
It takes less than 10 minutes for a debt management solution to be tailored to your current circumstances.
For a free, no obligation phone consultation with our caring team call 1300 171 351
You’ll be glad you did.

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11 Commonly asked Debt Questions

Debt Questions1.       I found out my spouse has a lot of debt but didn’t tell me about it. Can the banks come after me?

No. Under Australian laws you are not liable for your spouse’s debts unless it’s a joint account or you signed a guarantee (an agreement to pay the other persons debt if they don’t). Your spouse’s creditors however, can seek to enforce judgment debts against joint property.  But your share is generally protected.

2.       A debt collector contacted me about an old debt. Do I have to pay it?

It’s entirely possible that the debt is statute barred and not enforceable. In most jurisdictions the limitation period is six years.  However if you make a payment or acknowledge the debt in writing, this resets the period.

(click here to find out what Debt Collectors can and cannot do)

3.       If my parents die with a lot of debt, will I be responsible for it?

No. Any debts your parents have will be deducted from the estate. If your parents have no assets, their debt will die with them.

4.       I’ve got a default, how do I fix my credit history?

Time is the only thing that will fix it, unless it was genuinely listed in error. It will take five years for the default to fall off.

5.       Should I get a small debt to improve my credit history?

No, this is a myth. The best credit history has nothing on it.

6.       Should I use superannuation to pay my debt?

No. DO NOT USE YOUR SUPER. You superannuation is protected under the Bankruptcy Act from your creditors. We see many people where they’ve accessed their super and ended up bankrupt anyway. Had they not got that money out from super they would have had a much easier time in retirement.

7.       My child has a lot of debt, how do I help them out?

The best thing you can do is let them deal with it themselves. We often speak to parents who’ve spent tens of thousands helping their children pay off their debt only for the children to end up in debt again. Debt is a sign that your children are not good at managing money.  Until your child learns how to manage their money, keep yours in the bank.

8.       Is a balance transfer a good idea?

This is what generally happens with a balance transfer: you end up with one credit card on 0% interest and another with the whole balance available. You can only afford the minimum payment on the balance transfer but then another unexpected expense pops up and you use your old credit card, just this once. Twelve months later, the 0% interest period is over and you’ve got double the debt. So that’s a no.

9.       If I don’t pay my mortgage when will I be evicted?

The bank doesn’t want to sell your house. It incurs a lot of cost and risk. They will encourage you to sell it yourself first. If you haven’t sold it within six months they may evict you. We’ve had clients in their houses for twelve months without making any payments. This time needs to be used to accumulate a rental deposit.

10.   Will bankruptcy ruin my life forever?

No. Bankruptcy only lasts for three years and in most circumstances is on your credit history for another two. Bankruptcy will be recorded on the NPII forever however this is not generally used for credit reporting purposes. There are somethings that bankruptcy will stop you from doing forever including; running for parliament, holding any position that requires you to be a “fit and proper person”, becoming a bankruptcy trustee. Most Australians will never be affected by these restrictions.

11.   Will a debt agreement or bankruptcy stop me from renting a house?

Real estate agents don’t commonly check your credit history. We’ve never had any issue with a client being unable to rent a house due to a debt agreement or bankruptcy.


If you’re experiencing financial hardship, we can help.
It takes less than 10 minutes for a debt management solution to be tailored to your current circumstances.
For a free, no obligation phone consultation with our caring team call 1300 171 351
You’ll be glad you did.

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What actually happens if you don’t pay your debts?

Debt, Homeless, EvictionYour credit card bill is due but you don’t have the money. You’re sure that something bad will happen, but what exactly will happen, and when?

For the first 60 days nothing much will happen. You might get a helpful reminder to make a payment.

Somewhere between 60 and 90 days the bank may issue an S80 Default notice. Under Section 80 of the Consumer Credit Code, creditors are required to formally notify you that you are in breach of your credit conditions.  That is, you are in default. You are then given 30 days to make it up.

After the conclusion of the S80 30 day period, things start to get serious.  A formal default can, at this stage, be lodged on your credit history. This will be there for five years. During that time, it will make it hard to obtain finance. The bank will issue a Letter of Demand.  While this is not from the courts, it is a formal request that you make a payment amount by a specified date.

If you don’t make the payment requested on the Letter of Demand, court action can commence at this stage and you can be issued with a Statement of Claim.  If the court finds you do owe the money, the bank will be awarded a Judgement against you.

The creditor can enforce their debts through three main ways:

  1. They can Garnish your wages;
  2. Obtain a Writ (legal document from the court) to have a Sheriff seize your property or;
  3. If the debt is more than $5,000, they can legally make you bankrupt.

If you have no assets and your only income is government benefits, you are referred to in the industry as “judgement-proof”. This means a creditor can obtain judgement against you but they can’t actually enforce it.


If you’re experiencing financial hardship, we can help.
It takes less than 10 minutes for a debt management solution to be tailored to your current circumstances.
For a free, no obligation phone consultation with our caring team call 1300 171 351
You’ll be glad you did.

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