Thursday, 11 October 2012

Living Well on Less - a bit of background

As this is my first post on this blog, I thought I'd better explain myself.

When I was 2 years old, my Father passed away in unfortunate circumstances. As a result, when my grandparents passed on some years later, I received an inheritance that was kept in trust for me until my 18th birthday. When that day arrived, I came into £80,000 worth of shares. Even today this is quite a bit, but more than enough for an 18 year old to go a bit silly on.

With that amount of cash at my disposal, I shouldn't have had to work for anyone ever, but, as I had the money, I didn't worry about it, didn't think about it, and never learned how to budget. As a result, I spent it all on Women and Wine, the rest I just wasted, as they say.

In short, I spent it all, and then it all went horribly wrong...

At 25, I had a very nasty motorbike accident which nearly killed me, and left me unable to walk or work for 6 whole months, during which time I lived off my credit cards. I still had my job though, but as I'd never acquired any proper budgeting skills, I carried on living as I had before, on a wage that couldn't support my spending habits.

My debts soon became crippling as they continued to mount up and things got very tense. Should I consider declaring myself bankrupt and start again? No, I decided to grow a pair and learn how to deal with it.

During this latter period I was fortunate enough to work for a few different financial companies, in different roles, and saw from the inside how "bad" debtors were dealt with and what happened to them afterwards. This knowledge was extremely useful and I decided to use it to my own advantage. 

You see, the average Joe Punter has no idea what's going to happen to them when they can't pay their bills, or what it might mean for their future. Naturally, this is a very frightening and stressful situation to be in, and believe me, lenders certainly know how to crank it up a notch with various, often illegal, pressure tactics in order to extract money from those who can least afford it.

Occasionally people crack under the pressure with the very worst results. If you feel like that then it's worth bearing in mind that lenders often threaten to send in the bailiffs, or take your home away, but they can't hurt you physically. Only you can do that. 

And if you do become bankrupt, lose all your assets, including the roof over your head, you can always start again from scratch which in the cold light of day isn't such a bad thing. 

Remember: starting from nothing is far better than starting from a negative balance.

Lastly, when it comes to getting the most out of your money, whether you are looking to save up and retire early, or dig yourself out of a hole, the most important thing is your attitude. I can give you hints and tips on how to save or make money here and there, but it's not going to work for you if you don't adopt the correct attitude to money. Changing your attitude to money successfully will change your life for the better forever. I don't necessarily mean turning into a complete skinflint or tightwad, but to sum up, it's more about the value of stuff.

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