How I Paid $100K in Debt in 24 Months Without Living Like a Hermit
And Gave Myself a Fresh Start
May 17, 2019 .3 min read
Let me take you back to the summer of 1990 when I lived in South London. I was twenty years old; I was getting married in three months; I had just lost my job and had accrued substantial credit card debt.
In a polite English way, you might say it was an interesting point in my life. The reality felt like the sky was falling and I had lost control of my world and especially my finances. We all have those moments of dread of how we will make it through certain situations in our lives, and this was one of mine.
After the initial day or so of burying my head in the preverbal sand trying to ignore the problem and hoping it would all go away, it didn’t, so I had to deal with it.
Sometimes you need to step out of your situation and look in from a neutral position and take control.
Here’s how I took control over my debt and got my life back:
The first thing I did was get all my information together in one place.
I made a list of all the debts and the monthly repayments along with the interest the company charged. I worked out which company charged the most interest and started with those.
Then I tackled my interest-bearing debt.
The interest charges form a large part of the minimum payments credit card companies ask you to pay, so by getting the most substantial interest-bearing debt paid off first; I had more money to tackle the next ones. FYI, it’s a snowball effect, as it will take some time to get rolling but once it’s going, it will get bigger and have a more significant impact on paying off the debts faster.
From here I eliminated some of the bells and whistles when it came to my wedding.
During the months leading up to the big wedding day, some big decisions had to be made. One such decision was to cancel the Rolls Royce car, which was going to drive the happy couple from the church.
Instead, I booked a regular sedan.
And finally, I considered all of my loans options.
Another decision was the equivalent to a Payday loan which I was offered several times. They come with the immediate relief of paying off all the debt and consolidating it into one small payment. The downside to Payday loans is the small print; many of them charge several hundred percent per year in interest. The most considerable interest rate I have seen charged was 700% per year. This translates to paying off the debt many times over the original amount borrowed for many, many years. I did not take out a Payday loan.
Consolidation or personal loans:
Another option if you have good credit is to apply for consolidation or personal loan; these generally offer lower interest rates and bring all the debt into one account. I did not have a job, so this was not an option. I was lucky I was able to borrow from my family for a short time.
And I eventually got my life back.
Three months later in September of 1990, I was married, I was also hired to work a week later. It took me another year to pay back my family. A time I will never forget.
The tipping point of actually taking control of my finances was a huge lesson to me, one I have continued to master for both myself and now my clients. Our lives are ever changing and so are the financial needs of our families, budgeting and consistent reviews of spending habits can stop us from losing control. Make a decision to take control of your spending habits and finances and start fresh!
David Wharram is a personal financial consultant who helps his clients preserve their assets while giving them the knowledge and skills to take control over their financial future. David enjoys helping his clients solve financial issues no matter where they’re starting from, and his varied career history gives him a unique, well-rounded perspective.