SINCE the inception of the Credit Counseling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) in 2006, the total number of consumers seeking its service has grown with an annual increase of 20% to 24%, but AKPK CEO Azaddin Ngah Tasir thinks it is a good thing.
“It means more Malaysians are now financially literate and responsible in enhancing their financial wellness. A high number of consumers seeking our counselling service say they want to manage their finances and debts more efficiently,” says Azaddin.
AKPK CEO Azaddin Ngah Tasir
He expects the number of consumers seeking its service to grow this year.
In response, AKPK too has widened its on-going awareness programmes and counselling services, all free-of-charge, to reach out to more people at various premises.
“The programmes are tailored to the different segments – tertiary, entering the workforce, starting and raising a family and retirement. Noting that 2015 might be challenging, Azaddin advises debt-ridden individuals not to “run away” from their financial problem.
“This is not a solution and will only lead to more problems.”
Ultimately, he adds, they will need to change their lifestyles and be committed to the revised repayment plan.
“Malaysians need to make prudent financial a way of life. It’s not difficult – plan your finances and spend within your means.”
Tips to manage unmanageable debts
Assess your financial standing
> Do not be in denial that you have a problem.
> Organise your loan statements to gauge exactly how much you owe and compare the total to your income.
> Prioritise the repayment – pay off overdue loans and debts with higher interest rates first. > Stop incurring any new debts.
Take immediate corrective action
> Develop a budget prioritising loan repayment
> Use your savings or investment assets to reduce debt
> Change to a “cheaper” lifestyle
> Supplement your income.
Talk to your credit provider(s)
> Renegotiate the terms of your loans
> Work out a repayment plan to suit your cash flow.
Seek AKPK’s advice
> AKPK counsellors can help you develop a personalised debt repayment plan in consultation with your credit providers.