Personal Finance: When in debt, giving up is not the option
I may have written on this subject more than once. The only reason I chose it again today is because I see so many people wanting to throw in the towel when they just start meeting with their creditors, when situations seem difficult and unachievable and they assume they will never succeed.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It took you, too, few years to accumulate the debt you are facing right now. Recently I heard of a wife wanting to leave her husband and travel back home because she could not handle the debt situation. They did not have the responsibility of children. I felt the sacrifice was one-sided, as the money was equally enjoyed by the party now contemplating to make a safe exit.
This is a big test as the spouse who should be supporting the husband, not deserting him the worst situation. You should support one another during good and the bad times. This is called integrity, substance and principle.
Nothing stays dark forever. At some stage there will be a breakthrough, light and future possibilities. Spending your time demotivating your spouse because of your selfish whims, is the worst act of support you can display because you break your partner down emotionally. This is not about you, your uncomfortable situation, your continuous claims that ‘I don’t know where she or he spent the money’; or; ‘I did not benefit from that money, most of it was given to their family’, because it is irrelevant at this crucial stage.
It only takes me one view of your social media accounts to tell me the story of how you spent the money or why you spent it, because it’s not rocket science. So my message to spouses today is to maintain your vows, be the supportive spouse you pledged to be because you don’t just walk out when a lack walks in by the front door. You sit down and work it out, make sacrifices and ensure you survive the battle so you can both thrive in future and achieve your goals and dreams.
As for the debtor, you cannot just present your request to your creditor and expect them to simply approve what you want and expect:
• Be clear about the monthly payment you require, why you need it, justify your request with official documentation;
• Dilligently follow-up with the concerned person as to the outcome;
• If the outcome is not what you can afford then you cannot commit to it and you simply have to be honest and repeat yourself again even if it means you go back several times to meet with your creditors;
• Ensure that once you sign a new agreement that it is what you can afford. Avoid closing one hole and digging another because it is not the solution you need. You must ensure you close each debt with the right solution because it indicates progress and will motivate you to complete the rest;
• If the creditor does not call you or notify you of the outcome at the promised date then don’t wait and just leave it, call them again and again until
you get a response;
• If you receive interim calls from other collection representatives who have no clue about your request but demand payment, then inform them that you already requested a restrucure or consolidation, that you are dealing with ‘x’ and that you are awaiting a response. Avoid exposing yourself to more emotional fear by allowing anyone to bash you from any side – stick to your process and inform those who call you to remove this intimidation because you don’t need it.
If it is requested of you to provide more information or documentation, then provide it as a matter of extreme urgency – remember, your life is in the
balance and on-hold if you choose to procrastinate and on this path you don’t have that luxury as you are not in a position of strength. Procrastination is also the main reason why your situation is out of control, so avoid ‘going there’, open a new chapter.
If you find yourself without money or food (which I found people are suffering a lot these days) while on this journey, then unfortunately this is part of the journey of sacrifice so it means you gain more inner strength of realisation of exactly what it means and what it takes to become debt-free.
When you find yourself in this situation and ask for help, then it will come.
Besides not having food you will be more stressed out, too, because:
a. You don’t have credit on your mobile to call your friends;
b. You don’t have money for petrol to go to the mall or visit friends or family;
c. You don’t have money to go have coffee at the local coffee shop to socialize with your friends;
d. You can’t accept friends or family invitations as you have no money to reciprocate.
If your family knows your situation then you should be most welcome to attend their invitations and the same goes for good friends. But the friends you need to impress should lose their seat in your life as you are on a new path, you will have to go without many things much of the time so get used to it.
This has everything to do with pride and dignity, which by the way we compromise during this process as it makes you humble, maybe a trait you never possessed or could not show to people because of your facade that you never needed anyone, you had enough to go around and so being authentic was not on your cards.
Life teaches us very dire lessons, many times they are harder than we imagined but it takes will and inner strength to endure, with enough faith and knowing that there is an end but finally that you will emerge a better person for who you really are and what you truly desire in this life.
So giving up even after a few months, or absconding, are not an option as you give up on yourself and you run away from the true you. So it doesn’t matter where you run to, you will have the same problem, because you are the problem.
So it is your job to rectify yourself, not someone else.
[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.]
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