Ask Paul: My life has never recovered from the GFC


Dear Paul,

I moved to Australia in 2008, the year the GFC hit the UK.

We lost $350,000 in the move and that caused my former husband to develop mental health issues. We limped on, but things got worse when we got moved to Melbourne from the Gold Coast. 

ask paul clitheroe my life has never recovered from the global financial crisis

The GFC had hit Australia by then. We lost another $150,000 on that sale and were done for.

We divorced, but my husband was bankrupt by then. I received 25% of his UK super, to be paid in instalments, once he retired.

I got none of that, as he closed the account. I fought it and received $200,000 in super. I still have that, now at $261,000. 

I have 25 years left on my mortgage, with a balance of $407,000.

I am unwell and wondering what on earth I can do to secure myself a future and a place to live. The house is now worth $620,000.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. - Andrea

Goodness, Andrea, you have been through a lot. What you are asking me are huge, life-altering questions and I can't give you the answers you deserve based on a few paragraphs.

Things running through my head are your age, your employment status, exactly what your health issue is and much more.

Obviously, you can't put all these personal things in a question to me in Money magazine for public viewing.

I think you need to sit down with a professional adviser and have a long conversation about all aspects of your situation now and your future plans.

It may be that you are working and can keep working. This would build your super and reduce your 25-year mortgage.

Or it may be that you cannot work. This could make selling your property and downsizing, while maintaining your super, a better option.

I'd chat to your super fund about what advice options it has for members.

Your accountant may also be able to refer you to a trusted adviser, or you could speak to the Financial Advice Association about a referral.

The decisions you make now are critical for your future and I want you to get personal, detailed advice.

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Paul Clitheroe AM is founder and editorial adviser of Money magazine. He is one of Australia's leading financial voices, responsible for bringing financial insight to Australians through personal finance books, the Money TV show, and this publication, which he established in 1999. Paul is the chair of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and is chairman of InvestSMART Financial Services. He is the chair of Financial Literacy at Macquarie University where he is also a Professor with the School of Business and Economics. Ask Paul your money question. Unfortunately Paul cannot respond to questions posted in the comments section. View our disclaimer.