Saturday 30 March 2024



It's a strange feeling to have a weight around your neck for so long that you just carry it and maybe even forget about it. At times of course you are reminded. You are in a good place and then suddenly something reminds you of that weight. A movement, an advert on TV, a bit of spam through the door, etc. You wear and in time you have to own it because there is no other option. 

Debt. In 1998 I got a credit card and someone put that weight around my neck. If I could go back in time to that day with the knowledge I have now I would and my life would have been so different but I can't and so I won't and in time I'll stop lamenting. But apologies if I covered this in the last, first, post but I promise it will not be covered again because there is now a very hard line drawn under it in indelible marker: FIN!

I was taking the dog out last week and on the way out the door picked up a letter off the floor. I was about to put it where we pile all the letters but I saw my name and decided to take it out with me. As the dog sniffed about I opened the letter and first saw it was from my credit card provider. I had the hope that I would not see the phrase "as a responsible lender..." sent to someone who had in most of the period struggled to keep up minimal payments but still had an ever increasing borrow amount that ended at £14,800 despite never actually using the card for at least 15 years. Instead it read: We've paid off your remaining credit card balance. I felt angry to be honest despite being in a position I had longed to be in for over quarter of a century. 

Let me explain. The remaining balance was less than what I paid for 20 years every month just to maintain a debt with that debt remaining. They had robbed me at the last of getting over the finish line on my own while lots of people I had known over the years had their massive debts wiped out by budget plans, financial advisers, caring relatives, luck like PPI claims, bankruptcy, dishonesty or other means. I have seen it all. I have a relative who managed to get a debt wiped out similar to mine at the time 15 years ago despite both he and his wife working when I couldn't and then go on to get PPI back for themselves and also another family member. I took some sort of pride in not seeking out a "get out" but paying it off. And they had deprived me of that- I felt. In my head although I should be happy regardless i felt like I'd had to carry them on my back for all 26 years miles of the marathon only for them to jump off close to the line and shove me over it and take the applause. They cited their reason for doing me this solid was the fact that I paid X amount since 2020 and showed commitment to clearing my debt. I won't do numbers but will say the amount they quoted that I paid was 24 times what was left to pay. Thank you then. I am so glad you done that out the kindness of your heart and did nothing when half of what I was getting pain for at least 15 years was going to you to maintain a debt. I am glad you are so kind to do this and not just doing it because leaving the account open would cost more in admin to maintain. Cap doffed. 

Apologies for the negativity but the episode is over and I won't refer to it again. If debt was not a part in the original cause of my anxiety disorder then it was 100% the reason I relapsed. The debt was my own fault so I cannot complain but I want to leave it there as a warning to anyone who may read this. I was not advised but instead was enticed to take on more debt. If I had been younger I would have taken on more debt but thankfully I was not. The DWP just do their job. The banks though have been terrorising people for a long time in my view and will continue to. I recently listened to a director at Bayern Munich being asked why their season tickets were so cheap when they could easily charge double. His answer was that it would make the club an extra £2 million which is nothing to the club but the season ticket increase to the fan can have a big impact. There is morality. Not just seeing how much you can squeeze out of people regardless of their situation and the impact it may have.

I'll end on a positive with my big old marker pen drawing a big thick line under this. For the first time in 26 years I am completely debt free. Something I never saw happening in that time. Regardless of whether I jumped or was pushed I got over the line. That demon can never return to undo all my progress again. The weight is lifted. 

I make a point of retelling this to my kids. My aunt told me she was taught about money and how to make a plate of soup- 2 essentials. Of course my kids don't listen but that is their journey.