I’m 51 years old, married with three children aged between 11- 19 years old.
In 2019, my wife and I made the very hard decision to place our manufacturing business into Voluntary Administration and eventually the company was found not to be viable and was liquidated.
The company was a long-standing family business, founded by my father then passed onto my brother. In 2014, I was made redundant in my Public Service job and after taking several months off work I took up the opportunity to work for the family business which was then owned by my brother. After 12 months working there, my brother decided he wanted out and offered me to buy the business. If he could not find a buyer by end of that year, he was going to close the business. I was keen to keep it going as it had a great reputation and, I felt this urge to continue the business in honour. However, without doing my due diligence properly and to save on money I relayed heavily on what was given to me by the company’s accountant and financial adviser. In turn this was the biggest mistake I ever made.
I proceeded with the purchase, and as I had very little assets, I borrowed heavily against one of my parents’ investment properties. After 12 months operating the business, it was obvious that business was not profitable as it was made out to be. Despite cutting back on many areas, I was by that stage losing heavily but the accountant who was the same as my brother’s, continued to advise me that all is well. By middle of the second year, I had accrued more debt and struggled to pay bills to suppliers within the agreed payment terms. I was then hit with a tax bill, which I arranged to pay on a payment plan. But this stage the accountant was not returning my calls and when he did, so he was full of ideas to deal with the issue. One of the ideas to assist with cash flow was to charge customer a higher deposit amount. At first it seemed a good idea, but all it did was allow me to pay the back log of bills and eventually that caused further issues.
By the third year owning the business, I had accrued a massive tax debt, I had accounts placed on hold and struggled to pay staff wages. It was May 2019, I went into a deep and dark depression resulting in attempting to take my life. During this whole time, I had not openly told my wife about the financial issues of the business until I was admitted into a mental health facility. By then it was too late to sae the business, but my wife stuck by me and help me go through the hardest days of my life. By August that year we had lost everything but managed to hold onto the house however it was only due to taking out a high interest loan. We were about 6 months in front with our repayments which gave us time to find new jobs and try to refinance the loan. Unfortunately, due to the business failure, and as the sole director of the company, I incurred debt from the business which forced me to go into bankruptcy which I currently have 2 ½ years left to go.
The events of the past 2 years since losing the business had a massive impact on my direct and extended family. Due to my mental state at the time, I was very angry, constantly crying and fell into a deeper depression than before. This behaviour caused so much harm on my two younger children to a point where my youngest started self-harming. Today, with amazing help from various support groups we are still trying to manage their mental wellbeing. Fortunately, following my own hospitalisation earlier allowed me to set up strong support groups and people to carry me through, but my struggles are constant and I’m just operating on a day-to-day basis.
Two years on, the experience has been one that I would never wish upon anyone even those who I class as distant associates. I have had three jobs since Sept 2019, all short-term contracts. Due to the high mortgage repayments I’m pressured to find jobs that are highly paid. My wife struggled to secure long-term jobs eventually finding one at a mush lower pay scale. That has caused me further pressure to pursue high paid work. Unfortunately, with the current pandemic weeping the world and the financial pressures placed on employers high paying opportunities have been hard to come by. Each time my contact was up for renewal, the remuneration was renegotiated at lesser value. Due to the limited options available I would accept each contract hoping to secure a permanent long-term role. This has also forced me to find parttime / casual work which has not been any easy task. The only option available was to take up a role driving taxis which is remunerated by 50% of the shift takings. Usual shift 12 hours at a time which I do from Friday night to Sunday night.
Unfortunately, with my salary decreasing, it is becoming more difficult to maintain my mortgage repayments. We are currently 2 months in arrears. Refinancing is not an option due to my bankruptcy situation and even though selling the home in the currently environment, finding a rental property to accommodate the family has become very difficult with many families on waiting lists.
Our current lender is pressuring us to bring the account to order or face legal action to force the sale of the home. We have explored all options including requesting hep from family & friends. We are now desperate to keep the home as we know this option provides stability that is so much needed for the family especially with the kids schooling and moving to a new house would most likely set back all the hard work over the past two with keeping the family together.
This is where I’m begging for financial help. I propose that if we can have our monthly mortgage repayments covered for 12 months plus paying off the arrears, it would provide a huge relief and ample time for me to focus on securing a permanent job. Having job security will eventually enable us to be in a strong position to refinance our loan to more affordable one.
As a hard-working family, who has paid taxes and never been on unemployment benefits or being a recipient of an already overloaded social security system, I hope my proposal for financial assistance is warranted which will provide me hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel of life.
Target is $55,000 AUS Dollars.