Constance, better known as Connie, is a mother of three, a nursing sister, sole breadwinner, a Franc investor, and beyond that – well, a superhero. I met her whilst doing some customer calls and her story blew me away. And because she had been inspired by others’ stories and their successes, she wanted the opportunity to inspire others by sharing her story, too.
Five years ago, Connie found herself a R1-million in debt and working three jobs just to keep her family fed and a roof over their heads and even then, just barely. “That time was very tough. Apart from my three small children, I was also taking care of my mother and her household,” she recalls.
The responsibility of a bond and an extra rental proved just too much of a stretch, even working extra shifts and a third job on her day off.
The hardest part was watching her youngsters wean their emotional reliance on her. They saw to their own meals, homework and household chores, putting themselves to bed, while she worked through the night.
“I knew I had to make some hard calls before we were all thrown onto the street,” she says.
Connie’s Journey to Recovering from Debt
First she began to arm herself with knowledge following financial influencer and Franc friend Nicolette Mashile, and international money guru David Ramsey. “I particularly found David’s snowballing method of tackling debt inspirational,” she adds.
Once she’d done that, she tackled her debt one step at a time. Here was her debt recovery process:
Step One: She sold her house
“Albeit for a loss, but the sale made a substantial dent in the total amount I owed,” says Connie.
Step Two: She placed herself in debt review
“Debt review companies have a bad rap and in many cases justifiably so. I happened to land one that had my interests at heart and who negotiated fair repayment terms for me,” she says. After successfully negotiating repayment terms and lowered interest rates, the debt review company managed repayments on my behalf.
Step Three: She took on repayments herself
“After two years, I took over the remaining outstanding debt and managed my own repayments,” Connie’s proud to say.
Step Four: She started saving and investing
“Empowered by my ability to manage my money, I began investigating various saving and investment options. One of those options was Franc, because of its simplicity and ability to let me set specific goals for small wins like my daughter’s graduation weekend.”
Step Five: She removed temptation from spending her savings
“I upped my long-term savings and investment game by ‘locking my goals’ on the Franc app – putting my money away for fixed periods made it easier to resist the temptation to spend for more long-term gain.
As my debt levels have decreased, I could look at increasing my risk profile and allocate more funds to my investment portfolio. My next big hairy savings goal is a splash up 50th birthday celebration in six years’ time.”
At the time of writing Connie has just under R30,000 left of her remaining debt. This debtor is the only one that refused to lower their interest rate.
How has getting out of debt changed Connie’s life?
One of the most rewarding aspects of this process, apart from the prospect of being totally free of debt, is the lesson the family have learned together.
“I was transparent with my children from the start about the state of our finances and what it would take to get us out of debt and what we could afford or what not. In turn, they have lovingly begun to contribute towards family treats. If we go on holiday, for example, they will offer to contribute towards the food. Our debt story has rewarded us with invaluable life skills.”
Most gratifyingly, Connie now works a normal eight-hour day.
“Whereas before I was always the first to put up my hand for longer work hours – my day now finishes at 4:00 pm promptly so I can be at home with my children.”