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Families risk financial security over credit cards

The overuse of credit cards at Christmas is driving low to middle income families to financial ruin, according to Sydney Centacare financial counsellor David Bell, who adds that the problem appears to be getting worse.

The Catholic Weekly reports that over the past month, Centacare has been inundated with inquiries from families who are on the edge of financial ruin because of overspending at Christmas.

"I have been in this job for 10 years and it's the busiest I have ever been," said Mr Bell. "It is not unusual for me to see families who have accumulated in excess of $20,000 in credit cards.

"Now families are in a situation where they can't meet the repayments, pay the electricity or the rent."

Bishop Eugene Hurley, head of the Bishops' Committee for Family and for Life, told the Catholic Weekly that looking after the family socially and financially should be the pivotal responsibility for the Government. The Government should be concerned about the dire consequences it has on families.

"The Government needs to realise that the family unit is a primary resource in our society," he said. "Parents who stay at home to raise a family should be recognised as contributing enormously to the good health of our society.

"Many families where a parent chooses to stay at home become part of the poor."

Fr William Wright, a parish priest in Sydney's south-west, says parishioners have sought him out to discuss their card debt "because I'm someone who will listen to their problems without judging them".

Families risk financial over credit cards (Catholic Weekly 20/3/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Centacare Sydney

Centacare warns low-income families on credit card trap (CathNews 3/12/04)

22 Mar 2005