Family Burden leading to Financial Woes
Abigail is a 27-year-old Nurse. She earns an annual income of $50,000 a year and owed a total of $107,000 to 8 financial institutions. The main cause of indebtedness is due to heavy family burden.
CCS : How did using credit cards got you into a problem of debt?
Abigail : Actually, about half of the credit card debt ($42,000) was incurred by my husband. The remainder half was taken for renovation of our flat ($45,000) and purchase of household appliances.
CCS : Can you share more about what happened?
Abigail : My husband, who had a gambling habit, withdrew cash from ATMs using my credit cards (he knew the PIN number). This went on for a few months without my knowledge. I was shocked to find out several months later that he had already maxed out my credit card limits! As a result of his gambling habits, he had to self-filed for bankruptcy because he borrowed from bank & licensed moneylender and could not repay. I became the sole breadwinner for the family, paying for childcare expenses and proving financial support to my parents.
CCS : When did you realise you may have a credit card debt problem?
Abigail : My credit cards were maxed out, I could not repay the bills since the interest accumulated very quickly.
CCS : Did you share your debt problem with anyone?
Abigail : No, I did not share with anyone other than with my spouse. I was worried that my debt issue would affect my employment as I am a nurse in a government hospital.
CCS : What/Who prompted you to seek assistance from CCS?
Abigail : The Official Assignee who administered my husband’s bankruptcy case, he referred me to CCS when he came to know that my husband had used my credit cards that caused me to be in debts.
CCS : How did you manage to make yourself stick to your repayment arrangement?
Abigail : I followed the budget worked out with CCS to ensure I have enough to pay the DMP monthly instalments and for my household expenses.
CCS : What do you intend to do with the monthly instalment amount after you have completed your DMP?
Abigail : I will save the amount, apply for housing loan to upgrade to a bigger house to live with my parents.
CCS : Please share a word of advice to people who are facing a debt problem.
Abigail : They should not be afraid to seek help from CCS to find suitable solutions to their debt issues. I am very appreciative to CCS – DMP helped me to repay my debts in a manageable manner, and I also re-built my marital relationship with my husband after he overcame his gambling addiction through counselling and casino exclusion ban.
An interview with a CCS Client – This is the tenth of a series of interviews conducted with Credit Counselling Singapore’s (CCS) counselled clients on our Debt Management Programme.
Profile of the client is presented based at the time the person approached CCS for assistance, which could be as recent as a few months ago or several years ago. Name of the interviewed client has been changed.
These interviews will be published on the 3rd Friday of the month.
Credit Counselling Singapore
Published 21 April 2023.