Breaking old habits and patterns is easier when we turn our attention to those who, one, never had the problem or, two, were successful in making the positive changes we also want … including the results.
Evidenced by the results of pulling in a large amount of money in my thirties with my husband and the debt we were both left with after our divorce, revealed big changes needed to happen.
And for me they have, but in small, gradual steps.
For my ex-husband things were different. There was no problem for him getting out of debt once my poor money mindset and my new non-traditional goals were out of his life. Mind you, working for Ontario Hydro and the bequeath from his parents’ estate made his transition into liquidity much faster and painless.
After a few years on my own, plus breaking into a new field, writing, I turned to credit because I did not believe any other way was possible.
Of course, after leaving the corporate world I was later stunned by my return to the retail sector to discover how retail jobs were still minimum wage, yet were no longer full-time, and no longer offered any benefits, as much of the work was “contract” versus employee.
When the work ran out and I was let go, I was still recovering from the shock of several personal events so my thinking was not clear and I did not apply for unemployment insurance. I certainly did not know anything about social services either.
My journey to a debt-free life began a few years later, but only after I had to suffer the embarrassment and consequences when I filed for bankruptcy because I could not envision how I was going to be able to pay back the creditors and live, without going crazy from the hounding calls from creditors in the meantime.
I did believe one day I would repay the debt but I needed time to live peacefully, while I developed new money management skills, found work, did the personal work I needed to do, which was a lot for several good reasons, and developed new professional skills. (For a full account of how and why, my ebook, A Charmed Life, tells the full story.)
For the next fourteen years, cash, bursaries, and barter were king of my finances.
I also discovered many people believe poor people steal, yet I also discovered how wrong that assumption is because one, I did not steal, though shopping became a hide and see game in grocery stores as I looked for the best deals for my budget and two, though some impoverished people do steal, in my personal experience, I observed more theft by middle and upper class, sometimes directly and sometimes not, but that is another story, as is the story about how the impoverished are taken advantage of by those not impoverished.
Thinking debt would not be in my future again, I was not prepared for the scenario of having to move back to the community I left in my thirties to help my dad in his last years.
The first year and a half was promising because I secured a job and home, all within a few blocks of my dad. The part-time job paid fourteen dollars an hour, but the cost of living in an Ontario Hydro community, plus the money needed to help dad out before he was forced out of his home by health needs was not met by my income. Once again I had to turn to credit.
Not knowing what was going to happen when dad had to be moved to long-term care, I thought going into debt would be resolved quickly, but suddenly I could no longer work having to be on call 24 hours. A move into my brother’s basement housed me and the hounding creditor phone calls began.
By 2015, Dad finally passed away. A year later, I was finally well enough again to move away. And a year after that I turned to money management experts to help me move forward financially.
A MSN money expert provided this budget outline …
60% for taxes, home costs, living costs, vehicles, etc.
10% to debt
10% to short-term savings
10% to long-term savings
10% to pleasure
I liked the simple guideline, though as a Christian, there was one modification I had to make … reducing 60% to 50% in order to have 10% to give away.
Because my experience with creditors showed they believed they should have all the money I receive, I understood why they handed off their outstanding debts to some of the worst bullies and abusers I have encountered … and I have encountered quite a few in my lifetime … in order to keep their hands clean.
For this reason, I also appreciated what I have learned about money management … that in order for me to pay back all of my debts (the first bankruptcy also), I need, like all people, to be able to pay for a home to live and rest in, as well as, to stay healthy and thrive in order to be a contributing versus a draining member of society.
My experiences with lenders, especially a surprising few high-profile ones, have turned me off ever going into debt again, which, as time will show, will be to their loss because one day I know I will be restored and they will never see me walk through their doors to buy any of their other services.
I also think it’s time for lenders to wake up and develop higher “Respect Levels” business practices in order to balance out their capitalistic endeavors with compassion because, whether they know it or not, when some lose, we all lose.
Whatever your current money management style, I hope you too develop a high enough “Respect Level” to keep what you need and to give to those in need … because we never know if we, or a loved one, will one day be the one in need m… because, believe it or not, we win when everyone else wins too.
December 27, 2017
KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER
Founder President Author Speaker Artist
Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle
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