Posted 9 months ago
My friend’s head sank towards her latte, cupped in her hands like a security blanket. The hum of lively conversation, background music and chiming cutlery of the trendy little café at which we have our weekly coffee together seemed to melt away as I watched her fight back the tears.
“It doesn’t matter what we do; we just cannot get ahead. I’m working like a dog, Rob’s flat out and no matter how much money we earn, there’s just never enough”.
The frustration and anguish in her voice was palpable, as she continued,
“They might end up taking my car away because, by the time we’ve paid rent, utilities, food and everything else, there’s not enough left to pay down the car loan. Now we’ve got a baby on the way, I’m going to have to take maternity leave, and then there’s another mouth to feed, nappies, clothes, everything! How the heck are we going to make this work?”
All I could do was nod my head and offer what I hoped but doubted were comforting words of consolation. Unfortunately, this is a scenario that I have seen countless times. Regular, hard-working Australians are struggling to get ahead and finding themselves in debilitating financial hardship.
None of this should come as much of a surprise to anyone. Real wages growth – that is, nominal wages growth minus inflation – has been stagnant or in negative territory for years. Costs continue to rise at an alarming rate, leaving employers squeezed to ever thinner margins and consequently unable to offer wage increases to their staff.
In the September quarter last year, the Wage Price Index grew at a sluggish 0.5%, while CPI increased by 0.6% over the same period. That may not sound like a particularly significant differential; however, when this same pattern repeats itself quarter after quarter you can easily see how families living at the economic margin can be left behind. 2017 wages growth was the lowest since the ABS started keeping records in 1990. Private sector jobs have been hit particularly hard, falling even further behind the rate of inflation.
With all this in mind, it’s not difficult to understand the frustration that my friend and thousands like her feel. Even with two steady incomes, many struggle to afford the necessities of life without becoming ensnared in a vicious cycle of debt, let alone have the breathing space to put a little bit aside for savings or investment. For young couples, throw children into the mix and the Australian Dream may seem well and truly out of grasp.
With so many individuals and families in financial distress, opportunistic lenders have clamoured to grab a slice of a pie that is tipped to exceed $1 Billion in 2018. Many of these loans come with onerous conditions and crippling interest rates and repayment terms that do little to alleviate hardship and leave borrowers staggering under the weight of debt that a responsible lender would not have issued. Those falling behind end up hammered with excessive fees and charges that can easily add up to more than the amount borrowed before the customer knows what hit them.
It is precisely this struggle that led to the creation of Speckle. Good Shepherd Microfinance, backed by NAB, are driven to provide Australians with assistance in achieving financial stability. Speckle aims to provide fast cash loans to ordinary Australians at half the cost of equivalent commercial products. Speckle's process is fast, simple and completely transparent. Our easy-to-use loan calculator can show you exactly how much you will pay with no hidden fees or charges.
We believe in working with our clients to help them through financial difficulty. If a borrower does happen to fall behind, we will discuss alternative arrangements that will assist them to meet their obligations without further, undue stress. Fees for default or dishonoured payments are nominal, and will not leave the individual with even more debt than they started with when they can least afford.
Speckle offers an accessible source of fast cash online that is helping Australians all over the country work towards financial stability in a challenging climate. Even if you’re merely looking for a short-term cash injection to get through a tight spot, Speckle is simply a better way to borrow.
Speckle Team Member