Mortgage Stress - R U OK?Last week in the media it was reported that the 4350 (Toowoomba) postcode was the worst in Queensland for mortgage stress and the fourth highest in Australia.

1 in 5 households are feeling the pinch of living expenses, yet interest rates are at an all-time low. A forecasted increase in interest rates later this year will see further pressure on families, couples, and individuals that are already struggling with the cost of living and making their mortgage repayments.

The strain of mortgage pressure is unbearable for some – not only affecting their health but their relationships with the ones they love the most. People fear not only losing their home but letting their partner or children down. They can’t imagine starting all over again, explaining to friends and family what has happened and are embarrassed by the situation they find themselves in and thinking about this amplifies their stress and anxiety.

Lifeline identifies the following scenarios as indicators that you may be under financial pressure:

• Late bill payments or often seeking extensions
• Minimum or missed payments on credit cards
• Spending less money on necessities, e.g. food
• Increasing debt from credit cards or loans
• Legal action for debt recovery
• Fear of eviction from being behind in rent or loan repayments.

The triggers for financial pressure, unfortunately, are associated with other life changing events that are often ranked as the most stressful events that will occur in your life.

The top 10 stressful events are:

1. Death of a spouse
2. Divorce
3. Marital separation
4. Imprisonment
5. Death of a close family member
6. Personal injury or illness
7. Marriage
8. Dismissal from work
9. Marital reconciliation
10. Retirement

When something goes wrong in our lives we tend to adopt the glass half empty rather than the glass half full point of view. We think worse-case scenario but this may not be a realistic perspective of the situation. Asking for help is often the hardest step, but by getting a clear picture of your current situation, as early as possible, can mean it is possible to turn things around. I’m not saying that it will be easy. I’m not saying that it won’t be uncomfortable and confronting, but by addressing the situation as early as possible and putting a plan into action before the bank takes away your ability to control the situation is a much better option.

Today, September 14 is R U OK day. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 with more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day. And for every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives – that’s approximately 65,300 suicide attempts each year (https://www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/lifeline-information/statistics-on-suicide-in-australia).

Is a house worth your life? The answer is NO. Will your family and friends be better off without you? The answer is NO. If you find yourself under financial/mortgage pressure there is always a way out. It may not be the ideal scenario but there is a way and you would be surprised at the number of resources, people, and companies to help you through it.

If you don’t know where to start to get things back on track feel free to contact Simone on 07 4642 0007 or 0400 824 634 for a confidential chat or check out the resources below.

R U OK? is an Australian suicide prevention charity. Its mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and to support those struggling with life.

Find out more: ruok.org.au
Need help? Find help now.

Lifeline’s Factsheet on Financial Pressure is available here.