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rob smith
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Message 1910069 - Posted: 1 Jan 2018, 18:48:30 UTC

First, I've thought long and hard about posting this, but feel it may be appropriate to some here.
It starts with an early morning conversation with someone I work with, who was bemoaning that his (third) wife was threatening to leave him - OK I thought, he's got a reputation for liking "alternative sources of enjoyment", which lead to his first two divorces. But I was wrong:
For a few years he was one of the highest earners in the company, more than doubling basic with overtime to get a very decent income. Then came a change in his job, no longer on the road, but office tied and no overtime, so his income has been "seriously curtailed". But he's done nothing to cut his outgoings, he has five cards maxed to the hilt, loans, a large mortgage etc, etc, etc. And has done nothing about any of them, instead he decided to get yet another card to pay for the forth coming "family holiday". She happened to be in when the new card arrived, along with a couple of the other card red bills. I've met her and can well picture the domestic that took place when he got in that night.
I also happen to do some work with a debt counseling charity (which is why he decided to talk to me), and I hear of this sort of thing all too often. This made me think about the basics of the training, and one thing in particular, debt can happen very suddenly when you are doing something very foolish. To start wit,h take a look at your cards and other debts (debts in this context are anything apart from mortgages), are they greater than one month's disposable income? (Disposable income = the money left after youv'e paid your taxes, mortgage or rent, insurance) If so, you can be classified as "at risk". Greater than 5 times (he was) and you are entering "borrowed time", ten times and, well "God be with you".

So what?
First it is far better not to get into the situation where a small change in circumstances will tip the balance than to correct the balance once it has tipped - Think - "If one of my cards were to be called in for immediate payment could I manage that without increasing my debt elsewhere." You may, or my not have a problem, but let's assume you have, so...
Admit to yourself you have a problem with debt- this is probably one of the hardest things to do. Then admit to those around you (almost as hard). Now work out a way of paying down the debts, and here a very deep, invasive, cash flow analysis is required - everything (and I do mean everything) you spend has to be taken into account, along with your normal income (you can't rely an Great Aunt Bessy dying this week every week). Can you afford to increase your payments, is there anything you can do without (in his case it was two of the three family holidays in 2018 that he'd already fully paid for on his cards that got canned - the third would have cost too much to cancel at two weeks notice).
His wife may stay with him, but she's now watching every penny he spends, and is working with someone else in the charity I do work for, who lives locally to them to work out a long term plan based on his current earnings, ignoring things like bonuses etc. to their financial mess.
(From the tone of the letter I saw he was only one letter away from a court order)
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Message 1910076 - Posted: 1 Jan 2018, 19:50:11 UTC

Ouch!

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rob smith
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Message 1910085 - Posted: 1 Jan 2018, 20:35:20 UTC

An event I hope we can all learn from :-(
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Profile Gary Charpentier
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Message 1910098 - Posted: 1 Jan 2018, 21:21:58 UTC

My brain won't process living that way. However it is a story I've heard too often, people who get used to living off overtime and it ends.
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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1910101 - Posted: 1 Jan 2018, 21:52:36 UTC

"Owning Mahoney", starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, is a good movie salient to the topic.
The mind is a weird and mysterious place
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Message 1910104 - Posted: 1 Jan 2018, 22:11:08 UTC

Let's start a fight-back against this worship of money. Having finally caught up on the holiday back-numbers of my favourite newspaper, I've just sent this email to the "Consumer Champions" at The Guardian.

----------------------------------------

Dear Miles Brignall (both of you),

Please could the Miles Brignall who wrote a sober appraisal of customer service experiences over the year (page 42, Saturday 30 December) take the Miles Brignall who wrote about energy switching (page 40-41, Saturday 30 December) out for a quiet beer and whisper in his ear:

COMPETITION ISN'T ALL ABOUT THE MONEY

I'm getting increasingly annoyed about this 'switching' nonsense. At the last count, there were some 60 companies who offered the simple mathematical transformation of turning a meter reading into pound signs. Why? That's 60 teams of database programmers, 60 teams of website designers, 60 advertising agencies, 60 customer service phone banks, 60 boards of directors, 60 sets of shareholders, 60 sets of fees to regulators, 60 sets of fees to switching companies, 60 sets of welcome payments to new customers, 60 sets of referral rewards to old customers, 120 sets of fees (electricity and gas are separate) to the hidden meter-reading interchange quangos.

WHY, again?

There are two sets of people: the hyperactive, but leisured, classes with a decent internet connection: they switch. And the overworked mothers who have children to feed and get off to school, parents to nurse, homes to run, bills to pay. They don't switch.

Who pays all those fees? The non-switchers, of course. They also pay for all the reduced-rate tariffs the switchers latch on to. TANSTAAFL.

New Year's Resolution: Knock it off, for god's sake. Demand that the government (OK, the next government) enacts a single, universal, tariff for all fuel users. And sack all those parasites.

Happy New Year,

Richard Haselgrove.
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Profile James SotherdenProject Donor
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Message 1910147 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 2:59:56 UTC

That's a lesson the wife and I learned the hard way. We were like your work friend. Overtime up the wahzoo spending it all on toys, Instead of saving it. Then we both lost our jobs when they moved the factory to China. Still didn't take the lesson yet to heart. Still had those credit cards. The house of cards fell apart in 2013.
Going bankrupt was embarassing as all heck. But the best thing that could happen to us. We had to take a money manegment course. I think it should be required to take before you get married.
For 3 and a half years we learned that we can pay cash for things we want. Its called saving up for it.
Some of my paycheck goes right to savings off the top. When I get a raise that extra money goes in savings. If I work overtime that money goes into savings.
Now, I do have a credit card. It gets used when we shop online. I feel safer using that then a bank debit card. But when the bill comes in it gets paid in full because the money was already set aside for that purchase.
So dont be like me and have to learn the hardway. We did learn though. And its a great weight lifted off ones shoulders not having to worry about money.
[/quote]

Old James
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Message 1910150 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 4:03:25 UTC

god be with me
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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1910151 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 4:06:32 UTC - in response to Message 1910147.  

Now, I do have a credit card. It gets used when we shop online. I feel safer using that then a bank debit card. But when the bill comes in it gets paid in full because the money was already set aside for that purchase.

Exactly. That's the way I do it. Plus, it's wise to establish a good credit history because it helps you get the best rates on property(auto/home) insurance.
The mind is a weird and mysterious place
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Profile Angela
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Message 1910157 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 4:53:26 UTC
Last modified: 2 Jan 2018, 4:57:05 UTC

People manage money so differently, and so much of it is tied to one's childhood. I don't mean this just in terms of how our parents taught us (or didn't teach us) to become fiscally responsible. I think it is much more complicated than that.

If one grows up in a household in which funds are never scarce, I think it is easier to become an adult who can more easily wait before purchasing "stuff", because as a child that person probably inadvertently "learned" that his or her needs will eventually be met.

If one grows up in a household in which funds are frequently scarce, I think it is easier to become an adult who cannot easily wait before purchasing "stuff". As a child that person probably inadvertently "learned" that it is important to get "stuff" when one can, because an opportunity may not arise again for a long time.

Also, let's be realistic, pragmatic and empathetic here. It is easier to save money when your basic wants and needs are comfortably met. People with incomes that do not allow them to comfortably meet their basic wants and needs are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to saving money.

Please let us never be tempted to think that difficulty managing money, difficulty saving money, or a tendency to live outside of one's means when one's means are meager somehow constitutes some sort of a character flaw.
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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1910162 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 5:14:22 UTC - in response to Message 1910157.  

I don't think it's easy to look at childhood reward scenarios. Kids definitely are affected by their surroundings, and money helps, there's no doubt about that, but I really think some people aren't ever turned on by money, no matter what their circumstances.
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Profile Angela
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Message 1910163 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 5:28:17 UTC

Mother Teresa came from a comfortably resourced family. So did Karl Marx.

I suppose it is possible that some people aren't ever turned on by money, no matter what their circumstances, but I think that growing up resourced during your formative years helps take the edge off.
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Message 1910167 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 6:24:47 UTC

I got a haircut on Saturday from a lady who has been cutting my hair for years. This woman works very hard, and with great effort she makes a decent living. She works long hours as a hairdresser in nursing homes Mondays through Thursdays and she works Fridays and Saturdays with clients in her private cosmetology practice. The only day she does not work is Sunday.

While getting my haircut, I could not help but notice that she was wearing a gold ring or a gemstone ring on 8 out of 10 of her fingers. She had four diamond earrings of various sizes in each of her ears. If they were fake, I certainly couldn't tell. She was wearing four thick gold bangle bracelets on one of her arms and she had a thick gold chain wrapped around one of her ankles. She drives a car with gold plating around the holes where the tires go. When she goes on vacation, it typically involves a cruise ship.

In contrast, I showed up for my haircut looking like I was there to paint the building.

Guess which one of us grew up comfortably resourced and which one of us grew up poor?
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Profile James SotherdenProject Donor
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Message 1910174 - Posted: 2 Jan 2018, 7:55:16 UTC

I will add my 2 cents worth. We were not poor We had a roof over our heads and food to eat, But every penny had to count. I used to get hand me downs from my older cousin. My sister from and older cousin also.
My brother and younger sister got we handed down.
Tell the truth I hated hand me downs. They were 3 years out of style, And were talking the mid 1950's here. Not great decade for style to start with. But kids in school know. So yes I can understand the way I was when I was on my own. And had my own family.

We learn as we get older that some thing are learned by not knowing we are learning them.
[/quote]

Old James
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Message 1910214 - Posted: 3 Jan 2018, 1:44:40 UTC - in response to Message 1910069.  
Last modified: 3 Jan 2018, 2:02:06 UTC

Rob.

Sounds like your friend needs to writie or speak to everyone he is in debt with and state he is in 'escalating debt' and request a freeze on any interest and agree an affordable repayment plan.

Also sounds like he needs to surrender all his cards except for his banks main 'debit' card.

Perhaps also a good idea would be to sit down with his partner and place his income in a centeral pot so she can also have control on the household spending. (This might be a key issue?)

Going to court may not be a bad idea as interest is likely to be frozen and a repayment schedule and amount set. The court can not force repayment that will leave him or his partner without the ability to pay for their basic needs.

Escalating debt is an evil thing. It is either caused by our continued ignoring of our situation or our carelesness or because we tipped the balance and interest and costs from lenders have ovetaken our ability to repay.

We can not always predict life \ income changes but if we live within our means as best as we can we can sort out the differences.

When in debt that you can not guarantee to pay back surrenderring to your situation and being honest is oft the best path.

Dump any and all credit cards (keep your debit cards) and be honest with your lenders.

... And get any interest frozen (stoped) and propose a basic repayment amount per month.

Rob. It sounds like your mate has a good friend in you.

Debt is destructive. Usury is anti-social.

Hope your mate works this out.
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Message 1910221 - Posted: 3 Jan 2018, 2:08:20 UTC

We learn as we get older that some thing are learned by not knowing we are learning them.

Beautifully put.

Rob. It sounds like your mate has a good friend in you.

+1
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rob smith
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Message 1910264 - Posted: 3 Jan 2018, 5:59:05 UTC

Crunchy - I put them in contact with the "right people", it's early days and I guess that the first actual meeting won't happen until everyone gets back to work this week. (More likely next week as diaries will have to be looked at, and a suitable slot found).
Angela - Thanks.

Actually he's a "lucky one" in that the couple of weeks either side of Christmas tend to be a bit quieter due to everyone taking holiday and celebrating, but between the end of January and end of March it the number of contacts is scary - that's when the credit card bills start rolling in of folks see the mess rising beyond their ears....
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Message 1910340 - Posted: 3 Jan 2018, 16:48:01 UTC - in response to Message 1910264.  

Crunchy - I put them in contact with the "right people", it's early days and I guess that the first actual meeting won't happen until everyone gets back to work this week. .........


I'm glad you are there to help this person.

If the person is a member of this forum then I say enough has been said.

Let us know if well being is achieved.
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rob smith
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Message 1910353 - Posted: 3 Jan 2018, 17:45:36 UTC

The person is not a forum member, so no speculation.
The rules of the organisation I do this work for mean I can't do anything for him apart from point in the direction of the help line and then step back.
Given the scale of his debt (think salary time more than one) I suspect he will either have to break into his pension savings pot or take years to pay it off.
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rob smith
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Message 1913233 - Posted: 15 Jan 2018, 18:41:33 UTC

I hope this link will work outside the UK:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-42664112/dealing-with-debt-five-tips-to-get-out-of-the-red

These are the basic rules that we use when counseling. No rocket science, but common sense.
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