Lehlabiwa Tlomatsana’s 6 year Journey in Debt Review : Real Life story


I met Lehlabiwa, a 38 – year old engineer with a Master’s degree in Midrand in 2018 when I went to present on money management at the company where he works. With a monthly salary well over
R50 000 and 2 kids at the time, I couldn’t have guessed that he was under debt review. He was paying R9 350 of his salary to a debt counsellor monthly. He came to consult with me at the end of the presentation and he wanted to know if he could get out of debt review but in the end, he realised that it was better for him to finish the program. It was a great pleasure when he contacted me a few weeks ago to announce that he was finally out of debt review and he now wanted to buy a home ASAP and start to save for varsity fees for his now 3 kids. I asked him to share with us how the last few years have been and he was very happy and open to share his journey out of debt counselling.

1. What caused you to go under debt review? 
I was struggling with my finances where I could no longer cope, in a nutshell my expenses and debt were more than my salary when I decided to go into debt review. At the time my debt was over half a million.
2.      How long were you under debt review for?
Since early 2015, 6 years to be exact.
3.      What lessons have you learnt?
It’s important to live within your means, and manage your budget very well. However this is difficult at the start of one’s career as many of us did not have any formal lessons in finances from our parents or the school system, so many people fall on the trap of debt before they learn a lesson. One also needs to save early to set themselves for financial freedom later.
4.   Do you have any regrets about going under debt review?
At the time I didn’t have many options, so I opted for an available option which was debt review. The negative with debt review is that it almost puts your life on hold for the period, as you cannot buy anything during the period, obviously because you are declared over indebted. So in the last six years what I did was pay, pay and pay etc. Which was a bit painful, even though now I am done it was a painful process.
5.      What advice would you give someone who is thinking of going under debt review?
Consult a financial advisor to look at all options, debt review should be your last resort, even though it assists, it is a long process towards financial freedom, as it prolongs you’re paying period with your creditors, and also one can’t buy anything during the period.
6.     Share anything else that you think would help all of us
Set your goals early in your career, and save for the life you would like to live in the future. Do not compare yourself with others, run your own race 
We have set up his tax free investment accounts and short term investment and we are going to help him get a home loan in the next few months. He is determined to make up for the lost time. 

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