Now there’s a phrase I wish I had used and acted on: I have a debt problem and need help. It’s not easy to admit you’ve got a debt problem especially when you’re the breadwinner in the household. It’s also every bit as hard to contemplate seeking out someone whom you have to communicate your failures to. It’s even harder to admit it to your partner.
And so there I was, generally pretty savvy with figures and fully aware of the extent of my problem but I stuck my head in the sand and let it get worse and ever more difficult to handle. I was hiding the demand letters and shielding the phone calls. I should have said I have a debt problem and need help; it would have been so much easier.
A mirror held to my face
It took a friend to say to me ‘John, you’ve got a debt problem and need help’ to spark me into action. For whatever reason, it was the catalyst I needed. I searched the internet for information on debt problems and the organisations offering advice. I didn’t learn anything new but did come across some great quality websites of organisations offering professional debt advice. I lifted the phone and it was the best thing I could have done. I spoke with a friendly and understanding debt advisor who put me at ease from the off and who very obviously knew what she was talking about.
What a relief
I could feel the weight lifting from my shoulders and far from feeling embarrassed about disclosing the full degree of my difficulties I found myself at ease discussing my seemingly inexplicable lack of effective action. This was a trained and experienced debt advisor I was speaking to whom immediately gave me the comfort of knowing there was a solution to my problem. It was patently obvious to me that I could have done this many months before and not only saved myself money but also the inordinate worry and stress I had gone through.
I was required to list all the companies I owed money to, the amount I owed to each and the standard repayments as well as prepare a pretty rudimentary income and expenditure statement. This was a relatively simple thing to do but it certainly clarified the degree of my debt problem and made me think long and hard about the various reasons and causes. The main thing I learned from that exercise was that you cannot borrow your way out of debt, which I tried to do, and from what I have since learned, many other people attempt to do. It’s kind of obvious in the cold light of day but when you’re in the midst of it all, it’s not that clear.
The long and the short of it was that after tasking advice and considering the options available to me I decided to enter into a debt arrangement scheme which is a formal debt solution that enables you to agree an affordable payment with your creditors that you pay until your debt is cleared. Costs and interest charges are frozen as part of the arrangement which really helps in not adding to the debt. The solution gave me the time I needed at the time I needed it to get back on my feet.
My friendly debt advisor helped me through the whole process. I’m now free of all those debts and much more aware and sensible about how I manage my finances.