A few articles that will help you understand each topic a lot better!

At Libertine Consultants, we spend a lot of time helping clients to get to grips with their day-to-day budgets and find a sustainable spending model that allows them to live within their means. As such, we are extremely opposed to the notion of needless ‘retail therapy’, AKA shopping for no particular reason.

However, when it comes to retail events like Black Friday (an annual occasion that falls on the last Friday of November each year, when stores offer consumers a variety of discounts), there are ways to make it work for you if you play it safe. Here are a few top tips to help you shop like a pro at the 2019 Black Friday sales:

At Libertine Consultants, we spend a lot of time helping clients to revise their household budgets to make their financial lives easier. This is why we know that one of the first things that normally fall by the wayside when our clients struggle to keep up with their bills is self-care. However, this is actually one of the most important things you should be focussing on when you are going through periods of immense personal strain.

Fortunately, there are simple, cost-effective ways to safeguard your health that does not have to include expensive supplements, gym contracts or trips to the doctor. Here are a few things you can do at home to take care of your health without breaking the bank:

Growing up, we all got report cards to take home to show our parents how well we were progressing with our schoolwork. As working professionals, annual performance assessments play pretty much the same role – it tells you how well you are performing your role at a company, and where you can improve. Did you know that as a South African consumer you have another report card that tells potential creditors how well you manage your finances?

It’s called a credit report. These reports are compiled by the credit bureaux that operate in South Africa and serves as a record of your previous credit management behaviour. Here are a few things you should be doing to ensure that your credit record is as clean as possible:

The fourth article on our consumer rights series is ready for your perusal! Our first article dealt with your right to apply for credit, and your right not to be discriminated against when applying for credit. This was followed by a second article that took a look at your rights to be given reasons for credit being declined, as well as the provision of documents in an official language that you understand.

Our third and most recent article unpacked your right to be given documents related to the credit transaction, and the fact that these documents have to be presented in plain and understandable language. Today we’ll take a look at two more rights you have as a consumer in South Africa, in accordance with the National Credit Act – namely, the right to confidential treatment and the right to access and challenge information held by a credit bureau.

Do you get nervous when you hear the terms 'credit score check', 'credit bureau clearance', or 'blacklisted'? Does your debt seem like an insurmountable hurdle that keeps you from reaching your potential in life? If so, you may have been the victim of reckless lending. Today we take a look at this unscrupulous business practice and what it means for the South African consumer.

At Libertine Consultants, we spend a lot of time helping clients to revise their household budgets to make their financial lives easier. This is why we know that shopping for healthy food can be a challenge when you’re trying to cut down on your expenses. However, it doesn’t make any sense to let your health deteriorate due to an improper diet – that will only lead to expensive doctor’s bills later down the line.

So, what is a budget-savvy South African to do if they want to eat healthy, but also want to keep their grocery budget in check? Here are a few top tips:

Hello, and welcome to the third part of our blog series discussing your rights as consumer in South Africa in 2019! In our first article we took a look at your right to apply for credit, and your right not to be discriminated against when applying for credit. We followed that up with a second article that broke down your right to be given reasons for credit being declined and your right to be given documents in an official language that you understand.

Today we’ll take a look at two more rights you have as a consumer in South Africa, in accordance with the National Credit Act – namely, the right to be given documents in a plain and understandable language, and the right to be given documents related to the credit transaction:

According to recent statistics released by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) in its last quarterly bulletin, average South African household debt stood at 72.7% of disposable income. That means that many households in SA are using up to three-quarters of their income to pay off debt, leaving then with only 25% of their salaries to manage their other commitments.

This type of debt can be crippling; it can seem completely impossible to overcome it. However, there are steps you can take to improve your situation. These include:

Welcome back to our series discussing your rights as consumer in South Africa in 2019! Are you ready to find out more about the forward-thinking safeguards that exist in accordance with the National Credit Act? Let’s jump straight in. In our previous article we took at look at our right to apply for credit, and our right not to be discriminated against when applying for credit.

Today we’ll take a look at our second set of rights - the right to be given reasons for credit being declined, and the right to be given documents in an official language that you understand.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a number of important bills at a recent sitting of the South African parliament on 13 August 2019. This includes the National Credit Amendment Bill Act No 7 of 2019, which is poised to have a positive impact on the lives of our nation’s most severely overindebted citizens.

Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual international day declared in honour of Nelson Mandela by the United Nations in November 2009, and celebrated each year on 18 July, which was this great man’s birthday. Today, South Africans honour the 67 years Mandela spent in prison by devoting 67 minutes of their time on this day to make the world a better place.

As dedicated debt counsellors who take great pride in our efforts to help overindebted individuals to regain control of their finances, the Libertine Consultants team has had our fair share of disputes with South African banks who offset the accounts of our clients, leaving them unable to meet their monthly financial obligations. This highly contested practice has been a major issue in our industry since 2007, and has caused waves throughout the debt review industry for the past 12 years.

This is why we were so heartened to learn of the landmark ruling passed in the High Court of South Africa in June 2019 that deemed that the common law right to set off will no longer be applicable in respect of credit agreements which are subject to the National Credit Act. Here’s a breakdown of what this means.

Living in sunny South Africa can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster sometimes – there are many things to be happy about, quite a bit to frown about and lots of challenges we have to face as a nation on a daily basis. However, when it comes to our National Credit Act, we have it very good. South Africa’s NCA is seen as one of the most progressive in the world, and has been tailored to look out for the consumer.

Father’s Day 2019 is right around the corner – have you decided on a gift for the special dad in your life? If you’re feeling a little cash-strapped and unsure about how to find a suitable gift that won’t leave you broke, we’ve got great news. At Libertine Consultants we always advocate for budget-friendly gifts – after all, no parent in the world would want their kids to go into debt to show their love and appreciation. To this end, we’ve rustled up a few gift ideas that are easy on the pocket.

In the 3-month period between December 2018 and February 2019, the number of default judgments for debt recorded had increased by 3.5%. Do you know what a default judgement is and how it affects your credit profile?

At Libertine Consultants, one of the services we offer is credit analysis, which offers our clients a report of their credit history so they may understand how potential creditors view them. One of the first things a loan institution will look at is whether you have a default judgement.

When Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his budget speech in parliament on 20 February 2019, there was one group of South Africans who were listening avidly, and a second group who were busy sticking their heads in the sand as far as it would go. If you form part of the second group, we get it 100% - it can be very disheartening to get bad news every time you switch on the evening news. This is why soapies and cooking shows are so popular; it whisks us away from reality to enjoy a brief reprieve.

However, if you want to stay on top of your financial planning in South Africa in 2019, it pays to know what’s cooking in the national budget. Here are a few key take-outs from the Minister Mboweni’s speech in March to get you up to speed:

We recently published a summary of the most pressing changes that were addressed during the 2019 South African Budget Speech. While some of these shifts were positive, and others were less so, the fact remains that consumers have to be nimble in their response to the national budget allotment if they want to remain ahead of the curve and keep their spending in check. Here are a few simple ways in which finance pros are adjusting their spending after the 2019 Budget Speech (and you can too!):

If you have ever been in a situation where you felt unable to handle your debt, you will know what it would mean if someone was willing to throw you a lifeline that might enable you to walk away from the whole mess unscathed. It would give you the opportunity to start from scratch and rebuild you life without the looming shadow of countless creditors. Sound too good to be true? This is exactly what the South African government is planning to do for a certain group of indebted consumers.

Here’s a concise summary of the National Credit Amendment Bill, which was passed by the National Council of Provinces, and is now on its way to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who will be the one to sign it into law.

Valentine’s Day may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean there’s no more need for romance for the rest of the year. At Libertine Consultants, we realise that it can be a little tough to treat your partner to some quality time if your budget is tight. Fortunately, we know of a few ways to enjoy a fun and affordable date without breaking the bank.

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we’ve got some great news – this year you don’t have to spend a ton of money to treat your partner to something special! At Libertine Consultants we always advocate living within your means, so we’ve made a list of budget-friendly gift ideas that will show your love without taxing your wallet. Here are a few of our favourites:

A happy 2019 to one and all! At Libertine Consultants, we are very excited about the year ahead. Our hope is that we will go on to help as many overindebted South Africans as possible to overcome their financial struggles, so they may lay the groundwork for a more prosperous future. Are you wondering what you should be doing to safeguard your livelihood and make sound financial decisions in 2019? Here are a few financial challenges that are coming our way in the year ahead:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! The holidays are here, school is out – it’s time to kick back, relax and spend some time with your loved ones. However, if you’re feeling the pinch of a strained wallet this festive season, the thought of all the revelry and gift-giving ahead could be stressing you out. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy a cost-effective festive season without having to feel like a grinch.

The holidays are over and with schools back in session, it’s back to reality for most South Africans. January is a notoriously tough month for consumers everywhere, and 2019 has certainly not been any different. At Libertine Consultants, we are in the process of assisting many overindebted consumers who spent too liberally over the festive season, and now need to take their finances in hand to ensure that they can make ends meet for the rest of the year.

Whether or not you overspent over the holidays, there are quite a few reasons to keep your budget in check in 2019. Here are three of the most important reasons why South Africans should be tightening their belts this year:

Inflation is one of those buzzwords that often make its way into conversations about money and budgeting. Do you know what inflation is and how it affects your bottom line? There is no need to feel bad if you don’t – according to recent report less than 25% of all South Africans knew the exact definition and impact of this financial phenomenon. Today we give you a concise rundown on the most important things you need to know about inflation in South Africa and why you should keep an eye on it when you calculate your household budget.

In our previous blog, we started to look at how you can plan for your financial future in your thirties. This included saving a percentage of your salary every month, harnessing the power of compound interest and spending less than you earn. Today we take a look at two further ways in which you can build wealth my making wise decisions in your prime earning years.

If you’re currently in your thirties, you may be wondering whether you should start saving for your old age. The answer to that question is a resounding yes. At Libertine Consultants, we often assist individuals who are unable to keep up with their debt in their later years, and wish they had made provision for it earlier. Here are a few ways to get started, so you may pave the way for a financially prosperous future.

In our previous blog we discussed why we normally recommend that our clients follow a financial reboot with some health-boosting selfcare. At Libertine Consultants, we believe that once the pressure of debt has been removed, you should take care of your mind and body and implement long-term lifestyle changes that will pave the way for a happier, healthier life in general.

Here are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve your mental and physical health during and after debt review:

One of the most gratifying parts of being in the debt counselling business is walking the road with a client to get to the point where they are free of the financial burdens that weighed them down when they sought our services. The sheer joy and relief of being free from the shackles of debt is a wonderful thing to behold.

As debt-counselling professionals, we normally recommend that our clients follow a financial reboot with some health-boosting selfcare. Here’s why:

In the course of assisting over-indebted individuals from all walks of life, our Libertine Consultants representatives are often asked what would happen to their debt if they should pass on. As such, we thought we’d share a concise summary of how debt is handled if the person in whose name it is should die.

In short: there is good news and bad news. Let’s start with the good news.

Being a parent in the 21st century can be a tough nut to crack. Our children are growing up exposed to countless media channels, which means it is vital that we lay the groundwork for proper understanding of life skills such as financial planning, so they are able to make sound decisions despite the constant marketing onslaught.

When you’re happily married and placing your career on the backburner to take care of the children while your partner pushes their career boundaries as the main breadwinner, difficult discussions about financial responsibilities are something we tend to sweep under the rug. After all, who wants to come home after an exhausting day at the office to answer a slew of questions about how the household finances are managed and what would happen if divorce becomes a reality? Pretty much no-one

At Libertine Consultants, a part of the debt counselling services we provide includes sitting with our clients to determine what they’re monthly expenses are. Something we’ve noticed of late is that many consumers tend to underestimate their transport expenses. So, we thought we’d share a few of the hidden costs you may not be considering when budgeting for the month.

This is the fourth and final blog in our four-part series on clearing your credit record in South Africa. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the blog over the last few weeks, you are now all caught up on the role your credit record plays in determining whether you are a sound investment for financial institutions who extend credit to SA consumers. We’ve discussed the role of credit bureaux in determining your overall credit score, how a credit record differs from a credit report, and what a good credit report should look like.

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the blog over the past few weeks, you’ll have noticed that we are discussing where your credit record fits into the procedures South African financial institutions follow when determining whether you are a suitable candidate for credit or not. At Libertine Consultants, evaluating their credit report, is the most important starting point for each one of our clients – whether for a simple enquiry, a clearance issue or to determine if someone really needs debt review.

We really know our stuff when it comes to our clients' credit reports!

In previous articles, we discussed the role of credit bureaux in determining your overall credit score, and how a credit record differs from a credit report. Today we look at the main features of a good credit report.

If there is one thing that the Libertine Consultants team excels at, it’s helping our clients to improve their credit records! We have helped countless over-indebted South African consumers to properly manage the repayment of their debts. By fostering healthy repayment habits, their credit rating has improved significantly. But how does it all work exactly?

In our previous article, we discussed the role of credit bureaux in determining your overall credit rating. Today we are discussing your credit record and how it differs from your credit report.

At Libertine Consultants, we receive questions about credit records every day. We are often contacted by people who have taken out many loans and made a lot debt and are now unable to get any credit because of a poor credit record or blacklisting. But what does it mean when you have bad credit or a low credit score? And what can you do when you have a negative listing on your credit record and want to clear your name?

To make it as simple as possible, we’re going to break this rather complicated matter down into four questions and provide answers to each one in a series of four separate articles:

What is a credit bureau & what do they do?

What is a credit report & why do I have one?

What does a good credit report look like?

What causes a low credit score & what can I do to improve mine?

One of the credit services we provide at Libertine Consultants is credit clearance. This often includes helping our clients clear prescribed debt from their credit records. But what exactly is prescribed debt, when does it apply, and does it really mean you don’t have to pay an outstanding debt?

If you are currently battling to pay all your bills and struggling to cover day-to-day expenses, you might have heard of or considered debt review. The debt counselling process, developed by the National Credit Regulator (NCR), was created to safeguard consumers, but the process is often not fully understood. Today we take a look at the most important pros and cons of debt review in South Africa in 2018.

At Libertine Consultants, we don’t often have the opportunity to advise consumers on the importance of budgeting. Unfortunately, we only meet them when their financial situation has deteriorated to the point where they are desperate for our help. We step in and help them restructure their debt.

Prevention is always better than cure, so let's get budgeting before the crisis hits!

How do I know if I have too much debt?

The answer too this question may seem a little obvious at first glance - i.e. when you can’t pay all your creditors - but it goes a little deeper that that. At Libertine Consultants, we believe the first step to a financially prosperous future is knowing your limits and deciding where to draw the line. So how do you do that?

South Africa is one of the most indebted nations in the world and the outlook for highly indebted consumers is getting bleaker, especially with the April VAT increase looming! One of the 'easy solves' that are touted as a solution for debt strapped South Africans, is the consolidation loan. But what exactly is it? How does it differ from debt counselling? Would it be a good option for you? Read on and learn more…

Did the spending frenzy over the 2017/18 festive season leave you with a flat wallet and a permanent frown of concern? You’re not alone! A vast portion of the South African population feels exactly the same way.

Is there anything more rewarding than a loving, supportive relationship with a partner who shares your ideals and yearns to build a shared future together? It’s no wonder that getting married is such a big milestone in our lives – making the decision to spend your life with another person is a big step and such a union deserves to be celebrated.

Blacklisted. Has a terrible ring to it, doesn’t it? It’s a terrible thing when you apply for a loan to buy a big-ticket item like a home or a car, only to realise that somewhere along the line your credit rating took a big knock and you are no longer deemed eligible to receive credit. Let’s take a look at what it means to be blacklisted and how you can clear your name from a blacklist in 2018.

At Libertine Consultants, we realise that the festive season can be tough if you’re trying to control your spending. As one of the most trusted debt counselling companies in South Africa, we have brought many families and individuals back from the brittle brink of debt, so we know just how difficult it can be to pull in the belt when the rest of society spends like there is no tomorrow.

Here are a few tried and tested tips on getting through the holidays without worsening your debt situation:

This time of year, there is nothing worse than having to pinch your pennies. At Libertine Consultants, we know all too well that it can be a trying time to be under debt review, while many other family members and friends jet off to gorgeous holiday destinations or go on lavish festive shopping sprees. As such, around this time of year we often get asked whether consumers can withdraw from debt review once a court order has been obtained.

If this headline drew your eye, chances are you are currently undergoing debt counselling, but have been considering withdrawing from the process. At Libertine Consultants, we have assisted overindebted consumers from all walks of life, so we realise that there are situations in which withdrawal from debt review becomes a talking point around the dinner table.

At Libertine Consultants, we realise that debt review is not a one-size-fits-all process. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another; certain consumers require a different approach. This is why you need a knowledgeable debt counsellor by your side to make sense of the process.

Credit cards has to be one of the most hotly contested transacting tools on the market today. Kids who grow up in financially savvy households are taught the evils of the credit card from an early age; while young, working professionals quickly come to rely on this soft, yet volatile, financial cushion to buffer them through the first years of their adult life.

At Libertine Consultants, we have helped many clients who encountered tough financial times due to a split from an abusive partner. It happens more often than you might think, and we’re here to let you know there is hope, even if you feel trapped due to a lack of financial resources. Here are the first steps you should take when you decide to leave an abusive relationship.

We all know we should save. After all, the day may come when you are no longer able to work the long hours you do now, or the economy may take another pounding and a round of retrenchments at your company could lead to months without work. This is not something we like to think about when everything is going well, but this is exactly the time when saving aggressively is most pertinent.

However, it is much easier said than done, especially for upwardly mobile people of colour in South Africa. While saving is a tough notion across all races, black and coloured men and women in our country have an extra set of hurdles to overcome on the road to financial prosperity:

There are many reasons South Africans go into debt to the point where they require debt counselling to improve their circumstances. While it often involves a loss of income, over-spending, unexpected illness or simply an inability to manage personal finances effectively, divorce is also increasingly ranking among the reasons for individuals to seek the assistance of debt professionals.

Bringing a brand-new life into this world is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever enjoy, but it also comes with a whole lot of added responsibilities. And by ‘a whole lot’ we mean a boatload. It’s pretty intense. If you have been considering having a child or expanding your family, there are a few financial aspects to consider before you take the plunge.

Here are the basic costs you need to factor in when falling pregnant and having a baby:

If you have been following the news closely, you’ll realise that the South African economy is taking a bit hit in the wake of the contentious cabinet reshuffle in the first quarter of the year. As expected, this political move caused two of the three major credit ratings agencies to downgrade South Africa to sub-investment status, or so-called junk status.

In the wake of the recent downgrading of the South African economy following a contentious cabinet reshuffling, the country’s economy has officially gone into what is being termed ‘a technical recession’ by debt professionals. It has had a substantial impact on the financial situation of the most cash-strapped consumers. According to official statistics, 10 million+ consumers (more than half of South Africa's economically active population) are in arrears on at least three different monthly payments. This is serious.

Here are a few things that will definitely happen as a result of the current economic recession:

If you are someone who keeps an eye on the news, you’ll know that the world’s foremost credit rating agencies have downgraded South Africa to sub-investment status in the wake of the president’s contentious cabinet reshuffle. While we all realise this is very bad for the South African economy, few of us actually understand how this could impact on our own finances further down the line. Here are a few reasons why the economic downgrade should inspire you to save more.

South Africans are facing very trying economic times. At Libertine Consultants, we understand the pressures of mounting debt and the fear that you may not even be able to make the basic consolidated repayment brokered by a debt counsellor. In fact, that is one of the questions we hear most frequently during our initial meetings with debt-stricken clients: What should happen if I lose my job while I’m under debt review?

The short answer is not a happy one - debt counselling is only an option when you have a regular income, and if you should lose that income during the review process, your creditors can terminate the review in terms of the National Credit Act. However, don’t lose heart, there are options available to debt review clients who lose their regular income.

In the wake of the downgrading of South Africa's sovereign debt rating to sub-investment grade (so-called junk status) by the world's foremost credit rating agencies, SA consumers are bracing for a tough time ahead in terms of their finances, and rightly so.

We have great news for all South African consumers who have been trying to improve their credit scores – several international credit bureaux are in the process of implementing new reporting legislation that will make it much easier to boost your credit rating. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion will be removing a handful of negative factors from their reports after July 1st 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal.

According to the 2016 report by the South African office of the Credit Ombudsman, the organisation managed to return a whopping R10.7 million rand to South African consumers' pockets last year; a feat that is all the more remarkable when you consider that many of individual amounts repaid are quite small and the total repayment marks an increase of 40.2% from the previous year.

Do you live under the shadow of a poor credit score? At Libertine Consultants, we know what a hassle it can be to secure credit or even do something as simple as upgrade your cell phone if there is a blight on your credit history. Today we take a look at a few simple ways in which you can improve your credit rating.

At Libertine Consultants, we firmly believe the easiest way to keep maintain a healthy credit score is to be informed about how it’s calculated and what you can do to improve it. Here are five important things you should know about your South African credit rating:

At Libertine Consultants, we are often approached by consumers who are at their wit’s end due to unscheduled withdrawals from banks who use the funds to settle credit arrears without prior notice. This kind of situation can be devastating if you had been counting on a cash deposit to pay another creditor or to take care of your day-to-day living expenses.

Today we take a look at debt off-set, what the law says about it and how to safeguard yourself against this controversial practice.

Our previous article regarding effective ways to stay debt-free in 2017 was so well-received by our readers that we decided to share five more! Here are another five budgeting tips to keep you on the financial straight and narrow in the coming year:

At Libertine Consultants, we know first-hand the devastating effects that debt can have on the quality of life of cash-strapped families and couples. In the spirit of enjoying a financially sound and prosperous 2017, we share five effective ways to stay debt-free in the coming year.

Today we take a look at withdrawing from debt review. Normally, the debt review process is only finished once your debt is paid off and Libertine Consultants has issued a clearance certificate to each of your creditors and notified the National Credit Regulator (NCR) and credit bureau to remove the debt review flag from your profile.

However, South Africa’s National Credit Act is one of the most progressive in the world, which means it makes allowance for the fact that the consumer and/or debt counsellor may want to withdraw from the debt review process before it has been completed in this fashion.

At Libertine Consultants, we realise that the very notion of having to apply for debt review is stressful enough, which is why we make the debt review application process as simple as possible. Here is a step-by-step explanation of what you can expect when you apply for debt review with Libertine Consultants.

The debt review process can be quite daunting, especially if you don’t know what to expect once it had been completed. At Libertine Consultants, our clients often ask whether they’ll ever be able to buy a house, finance a car or get any sort of credit once their debt counselling bas been completed. Happily, the answer to most of these questions is YES. Debt management is a measure that has been put in place by the National Credit Act to safeguard South African consumers against the crippling effect of piled-up debt, which means the process is meant to rehabilitate, not to punish. So how does it work?

At Libertine Consultants, we have found that debt review is often misunderstood. Today we look at the process of debt review, what it means and how it can help you to regain control of your finances.

At Libertine Consultants, we often provide debt counselling services for individuals who learned that they were blacklisted without even knowing what this means. Today we give a quick overview of what blacklisting means, why it happens and how you can avoid it.

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