Thursday, October 9, 2008

Don't panic or be afraid

Debt is a fearsome prospect. The fear of debt numbs the brain; it reduces your ability to think rationally; it seems to diminish the range of choices available; it colours all thoughts and stifles initiative; it hangs like a dark cloud over your life. I know, because, as the saying goes, “I have been there and done that”.

Some twenty odd years ago in 1987, I was caught up in the crisis when interest rates hit 18%. What I did was to talk to people. I spoke to the bank and told them what I was trying to do. I spoke to my creditors and told them the same thing. I spoke to my debtors to let them know that I was in the same boat, caught up in the same whirlpool. We all helped each other. This experience taught me that communication is the most important business tool – talk to people. Never stop talking. Phone them every day to let them know how you are going and what you are doing. Believe me, they may have rolled their eyes when I phoned - again, but they appreciated my concern and the fact that I was keeping them informed about my situation. Also, and most important of all, I kept control of the events in my life. Nothing happened without my knowledge – I was never taken by surprise.

We eventually had to sell our house, but we sold it – not the bank. We sold it at a reasonable price and not as a ‘fire’ sale.

The other vital fact I learned at the time, and I have never forgotten it, is the importance of having a good, strong, honest and trusting relationship with someone, in my case, my wife. I learned that we had a symbiotic relationship, that we were stronger together, rather than as two individuals. She was my partner in every sense of the word and my best friend. This was such a comfort. Our home was a refuge, a welcome oasis at the end of the day. By the time the crisis was over I knew that I was a better and stronger person than I was before – I had learned a great deal about myself.

There are certainly going to be difficult days ahead for many people – mortgagees and borrowers of money generally, but there is no need to panic, everything comes to pass and ‘even the weariest river winds somewhere safe to sea’.

Of a certainty the sun will arise the morrow morn. Every dawning is the beginning of a new day – for new Life experiences, new roads to travel and new friends to meet. Keep happy!


“It matters not how strait the gate;

How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate;

I am the captain of my soul.” (Invictus by W. E. Henley)

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