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Personal Finance: Why debtors need to come out of the closet

Theda Muller

By Theda Muller

People going through dire debt crisis often languish in the delusional façade of ‘all is well’ when in reality it is not and, therefore, remain faceless and voiceless, living a nightmare of shame, anxiety, fear. They are reluctant to take the first step towards ownership and responsibility, which will lead them on a road of recovery, the ultimate freedom all individuals seek mentally and emotionally.

Even if you approach your creditors and you are turned away, spurned and demanded to immediately meet your overdue payments in spite of pleading, begging and humiliating yourself, my advice is ‘don’t just throw in the towel yet.’

Hope never leaves us, so does faith, because we are inbred with those key emotions and when the time comes and you need help, then the strength will come from within. Learn to experience this for yourself because only you hold the power, nobody else does.

If you can do this, you learn how to gain clarity and set your intention for your goal, which is being debt free. Hold onto the big picture of financial freedom, which is your heart’s desire.

Everyone makes bad decisions. You may have done it this time, but it does not mean that it should be something you ought to be ashamed of because you have the power to overcome this obstacle, provided you believe you can. Ignore the negative stigma in your heart and mind; ignore the unhelpful attitude of creditors, or family and friends who do not support you. Understand that this is a journey you must take alone, because setting you free from financial burdens, also sets you free in your life.

One key point to remember is that your debt did not accumulate overnight. So why do you expect it to be eliminated at the speed of lightning? Learn the art of perseverance. Allow the recovery process to run its course. It is a huge sacrifice to not being able to take loans and spend it on unnecessary luxuries you don’t need and never worked for; the same with credit cards, or as I call it, plastic.

This is a good lesson that will teach you discipline. It will teach you that if you need a new life, then you must learn to do things differently. There can never be positive changes in your life if you don’t change the things that created the bad situation.

Today, I live to reach and transform debtors’ lives. This is my passion, my calling. My key advice to you to achieve your desired financial freedom is:

Don’t be ashamed to approach creditors, present your situation and request a solution, because it is your duty to yourself and your wellbeing.

Learn to swallow your pride and ego; set your intention to become debt-free and hold the big financial freedom picture in front of you every single day. Experience the feeling as if it has already happened, and it will surely manifest.

Let go of the emotional fear that you created by imagining that the world is crumbling around you and that bad things will happen to you. Remove that fear. That is not the reality. Fear is only in your mind.

Here’s the biggest lesson about approaching your creditor:

a.      If the person you meet does not understand your situation and is not receptive enough to help you to find an amicable solution, ask to speak to their manager and if you still don’t get help then go up the ladder until the CEO, if need be. Don’t stop until someone understands why you are there, what kind of help you need and the solution you need to be able to afford meeting your financial commitment with their institution.

b.      Take notes, record the individual’s name you meet and even better ask for their business card, but record every single detail. Then act upon those notes as requested by your creditor, on time, without delay with absolutely no excuses from your end. If you cannot meet some of those requests then inform the individual and arrange alternatives or a solution but do not leave this open. Resolve it.

c.       Submit all official documentation they need to submit your request for review and approval. If they request additional documentation, then provide it timeously.

d.      Follow up diligently until you secure the outcome and if it is negative, then by all means request another meeting, ask why it was declined and  again follow point ‘a’ above until you secure your objective. Remember, this is about saving your life, in spite of the individual simply not understanding that if they are not empathetic and supportive enough, they may find themselves without a job in time when there are no more debtors, as it works both ways, just they never imagine it could happen to them, but history shows otherwise.

e.      Disclose information they inquire about your accounts, tell the truth and nothing but the truth as most of these individuals are experienced, they meet people like you every day as it is their job and right here is your golden opportunity, show your integrity and start building credibility for the future, because most of the time facing a debt-crisis means your financial records are tarnished. So it is of utmost importance to start ‘setting the record straight’.

f.        If you still do not get the help you need then seek advice from experts who deal with your creditors as it is also your choice to opt for this alternative.

The key reason almost always it that you already approached them in the first instance and they did not support you so what alternative did you have? As humans we are susceptible to venturing onto more neutral ground or what we feel is more secure for us to resolve our problem, than be subjected to negativity, bad attitudes with negative outcomes, because realistically when you face a debt-crisis you don’t have the time to delay any rectifiable process that can fully support your situation.

g.      Very important from day one is to maintain records and filing systems of all activities, including key documentation, i.e. new contract agreements, payment receipts, etc.

h.      Compile a debt schedule of your financial liability portfolio and update it monthly as you make new payments.

i.        Ultimately, it is important is open your monthly statements, read them, be familiar with them, ensure they correspond with your schedule records and finally always take the creditors calls no matter what because ignoring them can be fatal. So you will never have another excuse when you face problems as you would know about them prior.

j.        Follow this process for each liability until the process is complete.

Now you are on your road to financial freedom. Once you emerge from this, you will never be the same person again as the one who started this journey as it will transform you magically in more ways you could imagine.

[Note 1:  Theda Muller is a UAE-based author of two books: Embrace Financial Freedom Volume One: 10 Proven Ways To Release Debt And Emotional Fears In Today’s Economy, and Volume Two: Releasing Fear And Bouncing Back From A Debt Crisis. She also conducts webinars and workshops on debt recovery.]

[Note 2: The views expressed are the author’s own and do not reflect in any way, the views of Emirates 24|7. Readers are advised to carry out their own due diligence before taking any decision.]