You may have noticed I’ve not been writing as much recently. I had some problems with my neck after the car crash which they thought could be a problem, but it’s not (by they I mean the doctors). I got the all clear from the docs this morning that my neck has healed. Woop Woop! Not a minute too soon! My wife was ready to have me lifted and placed in an old fokes home due to my incessant complaining. The injury reminds me that in life we can’t ever be sure what’s next around the corner and to live life to it’s fullest.
When going through the process of clearing my debts, I spoke with a woman, Sue, who was paralysed from the waist down. She would spend her life in a wheelchair and require constant support. She once told me about her debt problem and it was a story which put a lot in perspective for me. My injury was nothing compared to Sue’s and it won’t change my life, but our debt story was similar.
Sue was a London City banker who earned £80,000 per annum and lived the life. She had 4 trips overseas a year for vacation, or as much time as she could get off her busy job. She enjoyed the finer things in life and didn’t want to wait to earn her money before she bought exactly what she wanted. Her car was expensive, her property lavish and she lived her life in the fast lane.
Sue had £0 in savings and £50,000 on credit cards. However, she didn’t think that mattered, I mean, why would it? Sue could afford her lifestyle and she loved the feeling of spending money.
However, unbeknownst to Sue she was to have an accident where she fell, broke her back and would never walk again. Shortly after this Sue went into a downward spiral which included too much alcohol and failing to go to work. She eventually resigned from her post because she couldn’t do the job. Well, the way Sue tells it she was asked to leave before she was pushed.
Sue had to give up her house, which because of the recession was in some small negative equity. The car which was on hire purchase was more than 50% paid off so it was returned without penalty. The £80,000 per year income stopped and was replaced with Government benefits.
“Who cares about the debt, I’m bloody paralysed.” Sue once said to me. I had foolishly asked if she regretted borrowing the money, or not paying the money back sooner. However, where Sue and I differed was that Sue regretted one thing about her previous life and that was “pissing away all the money”. I never squandered money in the same way Sue had, but that’s because the opportunity wasn’t there.
In life, there are people who could have £1,000,000 and still be in debt. They would need £1,000,001 to be happy. We need to change the way we think about money and save where possible.
Be Financially Prepared
Neither Sue nor I foresaw an unexpected blip to derail our life, but it did. What’s more, I’m sure there will be more financial challenges to come for both of us. Actually, I’m the lucky one to have a chance to get life back to “normal”, whereas Sue’s life will never return to the way it was before. So i’m learning a lesson and I’m taking action to become financially prepared.
It’s essential to be prepared financially. You’ve got to build for the future and unfortunately think about the worst case scenario. I’m an optimistic by nature. I never think the worst will happen, but when it does it can be a life changing shock. What do I mean?
I mean, if you have a mortgage or children, what life insurance do you have? Does it cover the mortgage? Is there home insurance in case of an accident? If you have debt, how would you repay your debt if you aren’t working? If my marriage broke down, would I be able to survive financially?
I ask myself these questions and I like to think the answer is, “yes, I have it all covered”. But, nobody can truly know what will happen in the future. I’m saving as best I can. I’m questioning my purchases and I’m planning for the future.
Is there anything else we can do to prepare us financially? If you’re in debt get debt advice now and start to take control of your life again.