Violet was the winner of the 1Life Win a Financial Makeover competition. That means she will have seven sessions with me, Winnie Kunene, Money Psychologist and trustee on the board of Truth About Money. You can get to know Violet by reading the earlier blogs about our first five sessions, and then read on to learn how she’s using her increasing financial freedom to plan for the future.
Violet and I are coming to the end of our journey together, and it’s been fantastic to see how far she’s progressed in such a short time. I truly believe that Violet will keep chipping away at her debts with the plan that we have put in place, and that once she’s done, she’ll never go back.
Here’s how she’s doing:
|Creditor||Balance before October Payments||Instalment paid Oct||Instalment paid Nov||Instalment paid Dec||Instalment paid Jan||Instalment paid Feb||Balance now owing|
|Creditworx/ University||7 000.82||400.00||400.00||400.00||400.00||400.00||5 000.00|
|VVM-Game account||9 811.88||400.00||400.00||400.00||400.00||400.00||7 811.00|
|Jet||9 636.01||1 000.00||1 000.00||1 000.00||1 700.00||1 000.00||3 936.00|
|Ackermans||4 841.31||1 000.00||1 000.00||1 000.00||1 000.00||841.00||0|
At the end of February, as planned, Violet finished paying back Ackermans, the first of her debts to be paid back in full. She says it’s a great feeling and now she’s even more motivated to keep going with her other debts! Now that she has an extra R1 000 to work with, her plans are to increase the Game account repayment by R400 to R800 per month and increase her Jet account repayment by R200 to R1 200 per month.
Now she’s even more motivated to keep going with her other debts.
Her fiancé also gave her an extra R700 to pay back to Jet at the end of January, which made a nice dent in the amount she owed. This means that in another four months, Violet will have finished paying back her debt to Jet.
Violet’s short- and medium-term goals Since she’s on track with her repayments, Violet and I started talking about the future. I discussed the difference between short-term and medium-term goals with her, and we categorised her aspirations into the right categories.
Her short-term financial goals are:
- Continuing to pay back her creditors
- Starting an emergency fund
Her medium-term financial goals are:
- Saving up in preparation for married life
- Saving up for a deposit on a house
Starting an emergency fund Even though Violet still has a lot of debt to pay back, I introduced the idea of the importance of having an emergency fund so that she has cash available if ever she needs it. This would prevent her from going into debt again in the future. Since she finished paying off her Ackermans account at the end of February and freed up R1 000 per month, she is going to put R400 of this away into her emergency fund. She will keep doing this for as long as she is employed, so that she builds up some security for herself. Obviously, when she has paid back more of her debts, she can increase her savings.
Thinking about her wedding Violet’s wedding is her own business, but I gave her the best advice I have. I recommended that she have just one low-cost wedding party. I suggested she have a traditional wedding and bring a pastor along to complete the paperwork in one go. This will save her from the exorbitant costs of having the double wedding that is so prevalent among black people today.
Violet’s type of marriage I also discussed with her the different types of marriage contracts she should consider:
Out of community of property means that both partners continue to operate as separate financial entities after they are married. Her money and debts are hers, his money and debts are his. This is useful if, for instance, one of the partners has a business that goes into liquidation. The banks cannot repossess anything that belongs to the other partner.
Out of community of property, with accrual means that both partners keep what they bring to the marriage, but that the money they make when they are together is shared. They write up an antenuptial contract to say what is shared and what each partner owns separately. This offers financial protection to a lower earning partner and is particularly important if the couple is planning to have children, and the woman might lose out on income as a result.
In community of property makes both partners into one financial entity. Everything is shared - money, and debts. I don’t advise this option because it means that if one person get into financial trouble, the other partner is also responsible for their debts and can have their property taken away to make repayments.
I’ve given Violet the information, and now the choice is hers.
Buying a house Violet is in no position to start contributing to a house deposit at the moment. Her emergency fund is starting off with a small contribution, but it will grow as she gets rid of her other debts. When she’s reached that point, she can make decisions about what to do with the extra money she’ll have, and then buying a home can become one of her priorities. For the immediate future, her fiancé is going to have to work on that savings plan on his own, but Violet is making good progress, and will have spare funds to contribute in about a year.
All in all Nearly six months ago, Violet’s financial affairs were in a terrible state. She was terrified by the number of debtors that were hounding her and the size of her outstanding balances. While she still has a long way to go before she’s debt-free, she has achieved so much in such a short time. One debt is paid off IN FULL, and another will be paid off in the next four months. The best part of all of this is that she’s now able to start making plans for a secure future with savings and a home of her own.
But one of the most important lessons that Violet has learnt from this process is to say, “not yet”. She knows that there are things that she wants out of life, but she also knows that it takes time to get there, and that debt just isn’t worth it. This journey towards a debt-free life will certainly benefit her for the rest of her days. I am proud of her.