Moneycare gives Raj hope and a new future
18 October 2016
2007 was going to be a big year for Raj and his family. He was turning 50, and was just about to retire after a successful career and good investment choices.
His son was turning 21, his daughter 18, and he and his wife were looking forward to celebrating 25 years of marriage.
Life was good. But the year didn’t turn out as they had hoped or planned.
Raj’s wife was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Her health very quickly deteriorated and she needed constant care. Devastated, Raj closed his self-managed I.T companies to remain by her side and did his best to care for their traumatised children. Within a year she had passed away.
In 2008 the Global Financial Crisis shocked the world, and rocked an already grieving Raj. His investments were wiped out, he was over 50 and couldn’t find work in the I.T sector and was forced to sell not only his investment property in Queensland but also the family home in Sydney to survive. Raj was trying to hold himself together for the kids, but his debts were mounting and internally, he was crumbling.
“Not in my wildest dreams I never would have thought that I’d been on Centrelink benefits or be in a situation where I would need a financial counsellor,” he says.
After submitting hundreds of applications, Raj secured a job at The Salvation Army’s Employment Plus. But with his creditors still breathing down his neck, he was ready to declare bankruptcy. He believes it was fate that, through his job at the Salvos, he found out about The Salvation Army’s free Moneycare Financial Counselling Service.
“I don’t know how I would have survived without the likes of The Salvation Army.”
His Moneycare financial counsellor presented Raj with options he didn’t even know he had, giving him hope for a debt-free, stress-free future. “From the first meeting onwards it was as if the weight was lifted off my shoulders…The work that they did to really basically support me and screen me from the debtors was just enormous. I could focus on getting myself back on my feet and get a stable employment - it was a great help.”
Vispi helped Raj to renegotiate his debt due to the intense and unexpected hardship Raj and his family had suffered. “It’s such a valuable service for people whose circumstances have changed –not through their own fault - but just like myself.”
Earlier this year Raj made his final debt repayment. Since coming into contact with The Salvation Army’s Moneycare Service he has written and published a book, retrained as a counsellor, has stable employment in a fulfilling job and has recently started his own small business.
He’s lost so much –his wife, the future he had envisaged, his savings, superannuation and his home –but he chooses to dwell on his gains.
“I can’t thank them [The Salvation Army] enough. Without their help I wouldn’t be in this situation where I’m working in my dream job, fulfilling my life ambition, my vision, which is that I’m doing the job that I was meant to be doing. I’ve found my purpose.
“My life’s purpose is to help others. I’ve been there, done it, I really don’t seek any material things anymore. I want to see my children settled and then I just want to actually devote my life to help others.”
By Lauren Martin