Interview with Debt Counsellor Shawn Petersen

Interview with Debt Counsellor Shawn Petersen

DebtSOS SP closeup

My Story

I started with Old Mutual as a investment consultant back in 2004 to 2007 and gained valuable experience in the corporate and personal finance world. I decided to go on my own and joined Sanlam (2007-2008) as a Personal Financial Advisor, this was a difficult period as the world was going through a recession and for a newbie to build a client base at the time was almost impossible. During that year I got lost in the world of credit and quickly found myself over-indebted and struggling to make payments to creditors. Trying to escape my problems I joined an international company and left S.A to work abroad, almost forgetting about my ‘problems‘ that was waiting for on my return.
Once I returned to S.A I had a judgement and several accounts handed over, I couldn’t see the light. I then decided that I will have to make a change in the way that I think and do things, I decided then and there that my life would start, I was 29 years old. I made arrangements with my creditors to pay them what I could afford and slowly the balances came down, also with the help of family I was debt free after two years.
With my extensive experience in wealth and operation management I decided to start something on my own. The first time I heard about Debt Review was in Nov 2013, the service instantly awoke emotions inside me, and I could visualise HOW this service can be the light in people’s time of darkness. I made it my quest to become a registered Debt Counsellor and offer my service across South Africa.
DebtSoS was born the 2nd of June 2014, our Vision and Mission is ” We passionately persevere to inspire excellence, to serve and educate South Africans to be financially disciplined and confident.” 
Our core focus is quality and education, sometimes people are not over indebted, they only need to learn how to work out their budget on a monthly basis.  We also give advice to people that are unemployed as to what their options are, people going through divorces, etc. We also actively support DCCS in assisting consumers every month.

My Advice to troubled consumers

 I don’t believe in something called stress, to me it is a six letter word, that’s it. When someone tells me they are stressing, it normally means that you have a fear of something or you have an obstacle in your way.  A lesson I’ve learnt is that whenever you have a problem, focus your energy on the solution. There is always a way out, sometimes life test us because we do not even now our true potential. we have to dig deep inside and GROW, EVOLVE.
Each individuals circumstances are unique, the first step is to seek help from a professional because your current mindset is that there is no help and no way out. ( I Know. ) Look at your options and get a second opinion from someone that your trust ( a family member or close friend ) Lastly decide your plan of action and stick to it. Asses your situation after 3 months and again after every 6 months.  Do your budget on a monthly basis with your spouse if you are married.
Start focusing on the important things in life, your family and your career. Start living!

Debt Counselling Community Support is a project aimed at helping consumers in general and vulnerable consumers under debt review in particular to improve their lot in life through assistance and education.