BalanceMayIssue2017 - 21
O N E FO R TH E MONEY
For many, money is a way to manage emotions.
Catastrophic week at work? Blowing £300 in The
Apple Store will fix it! We've all been there - it's
filling a void, whether that void is feeling lonely,
low self-esteem or wanting to appear successful.
Our society also encourages debt: people are
readily given access to credit cards, whether they
can afford one or not. As Emma explains: 'We're
bombarded with marketing that says: "If I have,
then I am happy". That is a very powerful mindset.
You get into debt because you want to be, look and
feel better. It's a self-soothing negative cycle.'
IMAGES: STOCKSY, GETTY IMAGES, SHUTTERSTOCK
ALWAYS SEEING RED
So what's the cure? If you are constantly dipping
into your overdraft, or, worse, permanently living
in the red, it's time to do something.
Financial instability isn't the reserve of
shopaholics blowing thousands in Gucci, it can
creep up on anyone. And while it leads to high
levels of anxiety, coupled with a constant feeling
of dread, you simply need to confront it.
'People avoid the situation,' says Emma. 'They
are afraid, so the bills go in the bin. Very sadly,
people commit suicide because of debt every day.
But instead, try to foster the mindset of "this is not
going to kill me". Money troubles can be dealt with
effectively if you ask for help.'
If you can't keep up with individual payments,
Alastair Douglas, CEO of TotallyMoney.com,
recommends debt consolidation loans. 'That way
you move all your borrowing on to the one loan.
Shop around and find the cheapest
possible option available for
R E WA R D S C H E M E
If you're savvy enough,
Set yourself little
it hopefully won't get
as a treat after
to this point. There are
repaying a certain
simple things you can do.
amount, so you
First off, get rid of every
don't give up.
credit card to stop you reaching
for it whenever you get the urge.
Next, start listing all your debts, balances and
payments - and work out the total owed. Apps
such as Wally and OnTrees, and tools on the
Money Advice Service website (essentially the
NHS for money), allow you to record your
income and expenditure, meaning you
can easily spot (and cut) that daily £8
splurge in Pret. Then make a plan. Or,
as financial therapist
Simonne Gnessen (founder
debt problems were
no laughing matter
of Brighton's Wise Monkey
10 years ago
Financial Coaching) says, a
'toward-motivated goal'. In
other words, work towards
what you want, not away
C E LE B S WH O
TU R N E D TH E I R
LI V E S A ROU N D
In 1923, the animator's
studio went bankrupt
because he couldn't
cover his overheads.
Five years later he
debuted a character
called Mickey Mouse...
and the rest is history.
A decade ago, British
McIntyre was £40,000
in debt and using an
old microwave as a
dinner table. How
In 1996, the American
rapper filed for
bankruptcy owing more
than $13million thanks
to a lavish lifestyle and
dwindling album sales.
Now though? Back up
to a cool $1.5million.
The year Larry filed
for bankruptcy (he was
$350,000 in debt in
1978) would be the very
same year he embarked
on a decades-long
career as one of the
most popular talk show
hosts in the US.
When the American
actress pulled out of
Boxing Helena, the
studio sued her for
$8million in 1993 and
months later she filed
for bankruptcy. Over 20
films later, she's now
L AST RESORT
from what you don't. 'If
Try to reframe your you're keen on fully
mind into something
constructive - hunt getting rid of debt, put a
down bargains next date on it,' she explains.
'It's about reframing
time you need
to make a
things - call it a debt card,
not a credit card, so you see
it as something causing the
pain rather than giving you a sense of reward.'
LIFE LE SSONS
In the long term, debt can actually be beneficial
because it teaches you better ways of living.
Whether it's pre-empting your triggers ('I spend
money when I'm bored at the weekends - I'll join
a running club instead') or making rules ('items
must sit in the Amazon basket for 24 hours'), it's
about identifying patterns of unhelpful behaviour.
Only then can you start to deal with the problem.
As for Sarah, she realised her generosity was at
the root of her financial difficulties: 'I was in a
relationship with a guy overseas and sent over
money for his food and medical fees. The
'I was in total denial. I'm not a bank people
can just withdraw money from. Back then my
You can't touch...
mental state really wasn't good. I felt depressed.
Anxious. But I did eventually realise I
hadn't gone that far off, it wasn't over
yet. You just need to be strict.'
She now has her own flat, pays £125 a
month to a debt management firm and
has one year (out of a total of four) left.
'Out of the madness, something good
happened: I took responsibility. And
that gave me the confidence to
say: "I've made stupid mistakes
in the money
in life, but I can get back up."' B
May 2017 BALANCE
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