Here at Luda Financial Solutions, we might be financial advisors but our focus is always on people. Last year we helped the Brown family (we’ve changed their names to protect their privacy) to recover from significant debt where they couldn’t see a way out – here’s their story.
Today, Amanda Brown is a successful and driven real estate agent. But just a year ago, things could not have been more different. Drowning in $40,000 of debt, and having tried hard yet unsuccessfully to find a solution on her own, she turned to Jacques Hugo for help.
The Brown Family
Originally from Zimbabwe, Amanda and her husband Jeff moved to Australia from the UK in 2007. They have two children; their son was 5 at the time they relocated to Perth and their 7 month old daughter had just undergone 3 open heart surgeries after being born with a congenital heart defect. After a stressful immigration process they settled into life in Australia and Amanda worked in a few different roles before going to work for a confectionary supplier.
A New Business
In 2011, while working for the company, she learned that a run down and unloved sweet shop was up for sale and Amanda saw a great opportunity. She swooped in and bought the business for an absolute steal and set to work renovating the shop and getting stock ready for opening. Jeff, as a qualified electrician, and Amanda did all of the renovations themselves to keep costs down and a few weeks later they were ready to open.
Business boomed for the first year. The store stocked a huge range of sweets and treats from South Africa, the UK and New Zealand. This was in the days before all these products were readily available in major supermarkets. But just a year later Woolworths, Coles and IGA all started to stock the same products as Amanda’s shop.
Business Went From Profit To Loss
This led to a significant drop in customers and despite this, Amanda persisted and wanted to keep her store alive. Unfortunately, although loyal customers coming in to see Amanda and have a chat, they just weren’t buying as the same products were next door in Woolworths for lower prices. For the next few months Amanda got deeper and deeper into debt and eventually when it got to around $40,000, she had to open up and share with Jeff exactly what financial trouble they were in.
Jacques Called In To Help
Having met and chatted with Jacques when he had come to the sweet shop as a customer, and knowing he was a financial advisor, he was the first person Amanda called and they arranged a meeting at the Brown’s house. Jacques spent hours with them at their first meeting and helped them to feel much less stressed and overwhelmed by going through all their finances and showing them that there was light at the end of the tunnel. Amanda says he made them feel comfortable and explained that even though they thought they were in dire financial straits, it really wasn’t as bad as they thought.
Amanda and Jeff were worried that the only way out of their debt would be to sell their family home that they had saved for so long to be able to buy, but with Jacques help they discovered that they actually had some equity in their home. With this equity, re-mortgaging to a new lender and consolidating their debts, Amanda and Jeff began to feel like they had a support network that they could rely on for help. They also finally closed the shop and cut their losses.
They had the confidence to speak to their creditors and get some assistance with regards to their repayments, and Amanda says this was all down to Jacques. Amanda says Jacques would call her each week to follow up on which creditors she had spoken to and what payments she had put in place to repay the debts. He helped them work out what they owed and exactly how they would pay it back.
The Brown Family Today
These days, it’s a different story. Amanda and Jeff are on top of the debt and living life to the full. But Amanda says every time she feels like she wants to make a big purchase, she has Jacques on her shoulder saying ‘Do you really need that?” and sometimes she will even call him to say she is thinking about buying something big. Jacques laughs it off and says that she doesn’t have to ask his permission to spend money, but it’s good that she feels like she does! That way, Amanda can seriously consider any costly purchases before making them.
Jacques meets with the Browns annually to review their finances. As an insurance broker and superannuation advisor as well, he has also helped them along the way with personal insurances and their superannuation funds.
Amanda says without Jacques guidance and support throughout this whole process, they would definitely not be where they are today. She credits Jacques with helping them during one of the most difficult periods of their lives and giving them the confidence to face their financial situation head on. When she tells her friends, family and clients about Jacques, she always starts with the same statement: ‘Jacques saved our lives”.
Do You Need Financial Help?
When you come to Luda Financial Solutions, you won’t be treated as a number, you’ll be treated as a person. If you’re struggling with your debts or simply looking for a way to get your financial ducks in a row, call us today and find out how our financial advisors in Joondalup can help you achieve financial independence.