Older people striking financial trouble: Vinnies

The average age of clients seeking financial advice from the Society of St Vincent de Paul has risen from 36 to 55, according to a Sydney counsellor, who says that the fifties are a volatile age group where job loss can cause grave stress.

Dennis Borham, financial counsellor for the St Vincent de Paul Society in Sydney, describes this new phenomenon of older people who need to seek financial guidance as "a cause for much concern", the Catholic Weekly reports.

"This is normally an age group that has dealt with the problems of budget and financial difficulty and is looking at the next decade to plan for retirement," Mr Borham said.

"It is also a volatile age group, where job loss can cause grave concern and financial stress with the task of gaining new employment being more difficult than for a younger person.

"Family breakdown can happen at any age, but the experience for an older person can be quite daunting with the prospect of having to start over again being overwhelming and a further cause for people to experience financial and emotional stress.

"Most people at some time in their lives will find themselves in financial difficulty and it is important that when this does occur people address the problem."

Mr Borham told the Weekly that the issues that cause the most difficulty are personal credit and technology, such as credit card debt, mobile phone contracts, direct debit charges and costs associated with pay TV and the internet.

"Imprudent and compensation spending are two common problems," says Mr Borham.

"When providing financial and budget counselling it is always important to consider the client's hierarchy of needs and then help them understand their spending priorities," he said.

"This process can be demanding and time-consuming with the need for much compassion, however, once issues are identified and spending habits adjusted, the results are positive."

Concern over finances of aged

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St Vincent de Paul Society

New fees tip balance for Wodonga Vinnies (CathNews 8/8/06)
Vinnies says "no" to Govt money (CathNews 6/4/06)
Vinnies rejects welfare reforms (CathNews 22/11/05)
Church groups pessimistic about welfare overhaul (CathNews 21/11/05)
Vinnies says welfare reforms lack fairness (CathNews 10/11/05)
Welfare package changes 'not enough' (CathNews 9/11/05)


8 Sep 2006