I have just written a post on my Facebook page about one of the most common questions I am asked:-

“Should I consolidate my debt?”

20111702_sBefore I give an answer, I always ask if they are still using credit cards and if they are, are they paying them off in full every month. If they are then debt consolidation can be useful. It makes payment easier, just a single payment for all of the different debts you have eg. credit card(s), store cards, personal loans etc and it is often a much lower interest rate than credit and store cards.

If however, they tell me that they are still using credit cards I strongly advise that they don’t go for debt consolidation.

Why? It is all too tempting. Suddenly, all your credit cards are paid off and all that wonderful credit is available to you again and you are still in the habit of using it. The first time you tell yourself “I need a new dress, pair of shoes (fill in the blank………) you’ll be reaching for the credit card! In an earlier post of mine http://bit.ly/1IuNvVj I discussed the difference between needs and wants and the impact, not knowing the difference, can have.

I wish I’d had that advice a long time ago. I had a very friendly bank manager and I was always consolidating my debt, only to go back in a month or two to do it again!! The only people who benefitted by this apart from the bank, was the guy who was always coming to put a value on my home so that I could borrow against it. By the time I sold it  and paid off all my debt ( the ultimate debt consolidation) there wasn’t much equity in my property.

So if you are thinking of consolidating your debt, make sure you are not increasing it before you do. This means for most people, stopping using your credit cards first.

If you want to get out of a hole, first you have to stop digging! So it is with debt. If you want to get out of debt, first you have to stop incurring it.

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href=”https://jillporter.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/12637931_s.jpg”>Shame

It’s been a funny few days.

I have had some great responses to telling my back story.

The odd questioning ones as well.

Why would I tell this?

Maybe I should have made it more positive? Maybe it would be off putting if someone was wanting to work with me, if they knew I didn’t have it all sorted out?

None of them were doubts I hadn’t had myself, trust me. However, I take heart from Brene Brown’s quote : “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it.”

My purpose in telling my story is not only owning it myself but also, hopefully, providing encouragement to others who may be thinking that they are walking this path on their own. They are not.

I am on that path too and I meet people all the time, who are on their own version of this journey.

In our society, money is not talked about unless it is bragging about how much you have! Most people don’t do that. My mother went to her grave at 93, not ever knowing how much my father earned!!

Things have changed from then but it is still considered shameful to be in debt, to have to borrow money and god forbid to go bankrupt. (At the same time as we are bombarded with advertisements to buy, buy, buy! And to get this credit card and be jetting off on overseas holidays etc, etc,etc.)

I know how lonely it can feel to have these issues and feel that you are all alone. How scary it is. How alienating it feels. Just how fucking ghastly it feels!!

I hope by being honest about my path I can help someone else not feel so alone and to feel braver about reaching out for help, or just to tell someone else, so that it doesn’t feel so lonely and scary.

Another Brene Brown quote helps too:- “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”