Please tell us about your background.
I previously worked in community welfare within the education sector in student wellbeing. Prior to that, I worked in prevention and recovery care with people experiencing chronic mental health issues.
What motivated you to become a financial capability worker?
Financial problems were a major part of the work I did assisting students. Wanting to assist people to improve their financial literacy and understanding to enable them to manage their financial situations became a focus for me.
What are the unique aspects of your role or the area you work in?
Seeing the difference it can make in a person’s life when they are able to use a budget to reduce their debt and begin to save for a goal for the first time is very satisfying. The client takes back control of their finances, their decision making, their own power and confidence.
What has been your proudest achievement to date?
There are two cases which immediately spring to mind, both very different.
Client A had fallen behind with their rates due to health issues and had received a court date. Advocacy and support was provided to negotiate with the council to reduce the debt, avoid court and initiate an affordable payment plan. Client A was able to keep their home.
Client B was a young person who had made some uninformed decisions and acquired numerous small debts on a limited income. Client B was extremely proficient with technology. Support was provided to develop a budget in Excel. Over 6 weeks, Client B had eliminated half the debts and was in control of the remainder, paying regular amounts fortnightly. Client B had new priorities and had developed a plan for the future.
When the client can look into the future with hope instead of dread you know a difference has been made.
What has been the most valuable resource or advice you’ve received?
This work does take patience and time and the issues don’t always have a swift resolution. I sometimes feel like whatever I do isn’t enough. One time when I was feeling this way, stressed and overworked, a wise lady said to me, “Someone’s mismanagement isn’t my crisis”. This probably sounds strange, but saying this to myself helps me to slow down and allow the calm to return. It helps me to keep things in perspective, remember self-care and implement the things I need to do to prevent burn out. I love what I do and I want to be around to keep doing it.
What TV show are you currently watching?
I tend to watch movies and series on Netflix. Currently watching “Cursed”.
Who are your favourite musicians?
John Butler, The Waifs, Ani DiFranco