From debt to dreams

A financial counselling success story

James is 19-year-old. He was referred for financial counselling after accruing a $14,000 HECS debt. He failed every subject he had enrolled into in the previous semester.  This not only meant it would take longer to complete his degree and start earning, but also that he would need to re-enrol into those subjects and accrue the extra cost for his degree. 

Failing was so out of character for James as he was a high achiever in Year 12. He explained to his financial counsellor that his brother had borrowed more than $20,000 from his friends, gambled the money and lost everything. His brother convinced his friends to part with their money by promising high returns of up to 20% on the money they gave him to ‘invest’. He did not tell them about his gambling problem and that he planned to achieve these high returns by gambling with their money. Unsurprisingly, he lost it all. 

James was devastated to find out that his brother borrowed money from his friends to gamble eveb though he was well aware of his brother’s gambling problem. His brother had been relentlessly pursuing, pressuring, and emotionally blackmailing James and his sisters for money at every opportunity. He also knew that his brother would not be able to re-pay his friends as his total debt with family and others was so significant.   

James decided to repay the money himself. He found employment and worked six days a week to repay his brother’s debt to his friends. Predictably, this had a major impact on his university commitment, and he could not withdraw from the subjects he had enrolled into because Census date had passed. He therefore accrued a HECS debt for the subjects he failed and would need to repeat. 

The financial counsellor wrote to the Board of Studies at his university, asked for consideration for James’ circumstances and appealed for the debt to be waived or written-off. After considering his situation, the board agreed to waive the debt.  

He was so relieved, delighted, and grateful to hear the outcome. Even though he handled the situation so ethically and repaid his friends, the HECS debt would not only have disadvantaged him further, but would have also been a constant reminder, for many years to come, of the adversity and trauma he and his family had suffered. 

MYST financial counselling offered young James the guidance and help needed to resolve his financial challenges ultimately restoring balance to his life.