Down Debt

Teacher Shifts From ‘Borderline Homeless’ to Homeowner, Beating Loaners, Consumer Debt and Other ‘Dumb Mistakes’

Without any family orientation and the impulsiveness of youth, Jahdine Tapara says she made a lot of “stupid mistakes” with money – and she certainly never saw herself owning her own home.

But at 35, she is the proud owner of a three-bedroom house with a wraparound veranda, on a 2040 square meter section with her own orchard: lemon, tangerine, plum, macadamia, passion fruit, feijoa, tangelo, currant, watercress and hazelnuts all in the courtyard.

Tapara, who is of Waikato, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Kuri and Te Aupōuri descent, bought from Te Kuiti in July and is now an inspiration to members of his whānau, many of whom were also considering life rental. as their only option.

Tapara paid $ 395,000 for the three-bedroom Te Kuiti house.  She says it was far from the highest offer.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Tapara paid $ 395,000 for the three-bedroom Te Kuiti house. She says it was far from the highest offer.

Tapara, who was raised by a single mother with eight children, says she got into debt when she started studying for her teaching degree; she succumbed to the “easy money” offered by credit cards, student overdraft and loan sharks.

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“As soon as I turned 18, I saw it as free money.

“When I think about it now, I’m really frustrated. How did they approve me? I was in casual positions, I was studying. I really didn’t have much.

She first retired from KiwiSaver, including when she got her first teaching job.

The house is on 2040 square meters, with lemon, tangerine, plum, macadamia, passion fruit, feijoa, tangelo, currant, watercress and hazelnut.

TOM LEE / STUFF / Waikato Times

The house is on 2040 square meters, with lemon, tangerine, plum, macadamia, passion fruit, feijoa, tangelo, currant, watercress and hazelnut.

“As a newbie peanut teacher, the last thing I wanted to do was lose more money on top of my student loan payments, old debts, and the cost of living.”

She says she had “no financial education” from her parents. Her mother was still renting and her father was away most of her life. Both parents died when Tapara was in his twenties.

“Mom has praised our whole life. Only my grandparents (daddy’s parents) owned two houses in Otorohanga, but I did not benefit financially and had no knowledge of the property to pass on.

“Renting was the norm for the rest of my family. “

When Tapara graduated in primary education in 2007, she was the first in her “far away” whānau to graduate from college.

Tapara teaches her daughters Teiawhiro and Waiwaia how to be financially savvy.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Tapara teaches her daughters Teiawhiro and Waiwaia how to be financially savvy.

“I ran away from my debts, some caught up with me and I paid them off, barely $ 20 a week. Either way, my credit was shocking. There was a time when some power companies didn’t want to know me, phone companies, etc.

She says she was “on the verge of homelessness at times” even though she had a permanent full-time teaching position.

“Whānau in terms of money, we were pōhara (poor), not whānau gifts. My mom did the best she could, she tried, but I couldn’t ask, knowing that she still had my three younger siblings to care for.

Then, in 2017, Tapara participated in financial literacy workshops in Waikato Tainui with a friend from college.

“It was from them that I learned the line: if you take out a loan, the line goes deeper and deeper.

Tapara says she intends to impart homeownership knowledge to her children.

Tom Lee / Stuff

Tapara says she intends to impart homeownership knowledge to her children.

“I learned what good debt is, which is a student loan because it could potentially make you money after you graduate, and home ownership is that. another one. Bad debts were all I did when I turned 18: personal loans, car loans, credit cards, new phones on HP.

Tapara says she hit a “light bulb moment” as she watched the red debt line drop more and more.

“The second workshop made us imagine the house of our dreams: we drew a plan and photos. It gave me confidence that in fact, if I pull myself together, I can probably do it. “

Tapara went to a mortgage broker, who stressed that his position was not too bad. She had then accumulated $ 28,000 in KiwiSaver and $ 20,000 in a limited access bank account for a deposit. She says she “kicks herself” when she realizes that if she had started KiwiSaver earlier, she could have saved $ 70,000 to $ 80,000.

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She went through tough times in 2018, eventually separating from the father of her two daughters, now aged four and seven.

But when she returned to work after maternity leave for her daughter Waiwaia, she continued to save and discovered Australian financial author Scott Pape, known as the ‘Barefoot Investor’.

“I joined Facebook groups: Barefoot investor groups and New Zealand first-time home buyers groups, real estate investment women’s groups. It helped me a lot to read everyone’s posts. I was always the silent observer and / or asked a question as an anonymous poster. “

Finally able to buy a home, Tapara says she was lucky the seller wanted to give her an opportunity, as they had a much higher bid from Auckland buyers, who didn’t have a visited the property.

“I couldn’t believe my luck when I got the phone call the next day from my agent. It was so surreal!

Although her mother has always praised, Tapara is nonetheless grateful to her and credits her for guiding her on her path, especially when she had to decide to move to Te Kuiti.

“I was in Hamilton in a stable kura where I liked to work. It was a big decision for me to apply elsewhere when I was performing well at this school. But I remembered my mother always telling me, “I trust your judgment.”

“I compared the prices of houses in Hamilton and moved on to a promotion – union principal teacher (in Te Wharekura o Maniapoto).

She is in seventh heaven to live in her own house. Even if it is not perfect, it is “a beautiful shell to work with”.

“I love the orchard, but what matters to me is the safety of my daughters, of us. And, in fact, have a basis.

“For me, homeownership is a knowledge that I intend to pass on to my children, to begin this intergenerational cycle of financial literacy, something that I wish I had known.

“Knowledge is power and man, I could’ve owned a few houses now if I knew what I know now back then.”


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