selfless act

Another couple of days spent hunting for answers to the financial predicament, but in a lot of cases of seemingly lost causes an answer presents itself.

I can’t accept this offer/answer though, on account of pride, but this act does highlight that people do a) care and b) want to help.  The reasons were so genuine, they didn’t want to see me down and struggling.  You can guess, someone offered to get me a loan.

Yes, it would fix the smaller issue and push the HMRC back for a few months on the larger outstanding debt but….I could not accept.  I had to be completely honest, I would be in no position to pay it back for 8-12 months which is completely unfair.  Why should someone else put themselves into debt to bail me out?

No, I had to be an adult and decline despite every bit of screaming do it!  But, you wouldn’t put a plaster on a wound that required stitches would you?  Nor can I paper over a temporary crack.  It would be a quick fix only, and then the threatening letters would start again and I would already have an additional loan to pay back.

What makes this more remarkable though is this person is not in any way affluent.  The loan offer was made because they have excellent credit history, and thus would get a loan.  How selfless is that?

It shows as well, don’t hide yourself away, open up and see who wants to help.  Some people will stick their nose up in the air (and they do) but others will want to help.  Perhaps I need to swallow my pride and open up to my family.

We will see…

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Brief restbite from the real world

I was lucky enough to be on the VIP guest list at a world famous beer festival yesterday, which is normally not something I would attend.  I rarely drink, out of choice and it saves me money!   But I had a really brilliant time, so brilliant in fact I can’t remember most of it!  long time since I have had a hangover like this one, almost like being 18 again!

But, it served a purpose going there.  It gave me a chance to catch up with mates, it didn’t cost me anything but the train fare, and it also allowed me to briefly forget what has been going on.

It was interesting though, one of the chaps who attended opened up when he was drunk about his wife had left him and he was having a terrible time.  Made a change to listen to someone else, although his was not money related problems I could totally empathise with his marriage issues.

To highlight my problem though, one of the other guys (really nice guy actually) inherits millions when his parents die.   That is one hell of an inheritance!  I tried to become his best friend!  I’m joking, I wouldn’t do that..but millions of pounds overnight, wow.

Checked my lottery ticket just in case I inherited millions, not a bean!

Tomorrow is a new day, going to use it to find other ways to make extra money.  I have some spare evenings, there must be something I can do right?

that’s it then….doomed

What a shocking day this has been, 2 calls and 1 letter later and I am in worse trouble.

If you have been reading previous posts you will know the attempts I have gone to to get empathy and help with no avail.  Today pretty much summed it up.

Mortgage Company – 2 month holiday declined, equity release plan declined

Barclays – repayment of account charges and interest declined

HMRC – another fine.

Yes, that’s another fine from the HMRC.  So in the course of 7 days my debt with the HMRC has increased by a further  £1100 in fines and interest.  What can I do here, the debt increases and I can’t pay it.  Inevitable, next month, due to non payment I will be fined again.  This is a constant never ending cycle of pain.  How can I ever get out of this if the figure keeps moving?  I really have no chance do I?

And no institution will help me.  I have been a customer of my bank for over 25 years, they could see I was struggling but not say tough luck.  And you know why the mortgage company won’t help.

That’s society then people, love you when you are up, won’t help when down.

So what now?  If I am honest…nowhere.  I really have nowhere else to go now except the obvious one, so it’s time to sit my family down I think and explain what is going to happen.

If I am ever in a position of extreme wealth, I will make sure I own a company that people can come to with similar stories who just need help because there sure isn’t anywhere right now.

Not a happy blog today I am afraid but it’s a very low point for me.

cartoon highlights inner concerns

I have watched, and laughed at, The Simpsons for years.  Today though was different, the episode saw the family get evicted from the home for non payment of bills.  It’s odd isn’t it though, how one thing can instantly release your inner concerns.

From reading my blog you will know it is my worst fear, to lose the family home.  Even watching the cartoon reactions was enough to make me wonder about it again.   I wonder how many other people, in similar debt positions, have watched programs on television and instantly realised they might be next.

Looking at other programs, the listings are bleak.  Such programs as “Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away” and various repossession related screenings.   I wonder what message these are meant to portray, are they meant as a warning?  I watched one on catch-up it did seem to give you a shameful picture of make sure you pay or we will get you!  There is no empathy on there, just a couple of fellas with clipboards writing up your belongings whilst the poor family stand there.

This qualifies as reality tv I guess, but is the reality that bleak?

Nobody wants to lose their things, and the fact people do shouldn’t be plagiarised just for other people’s entertainment.   It’s a shame that since the introduction of Big Brother, nothing is sacred now.  Anything can be filmed, and played to an audience nowadays.

I aim to avoid this scenario at all costs.

Never under-estimate the power of a dog

Up to 3 years ago I never owned a dog, nor wanted to actually.  But if I had wanted a dog, it would have been a miniature sausage dog.  Not very manly no, but I thought they were ace.

About 6 months after the discovery of the affair, and with the ex staying elsewhere a lot, she randomly turned up one day with a  dog as a “present for me”.  Despite the quite obvious fact it was a guilt gift, my reply was not a “thank you” but more of “what the hell am I going to do with a dog?”  There was too much upheaval already, a dog would only add to the issues.  After all, I didn’t know what was going to happen with the house.

However, the dog cage door opened and out trotted a puppy.  Not just any puppy, but a miniature daschund.  And then it happened, he walked up to me and looked at me.  What could I do?  I admit I loved him immediately, and we bonded quickly.  The children adored him and he adored them.

My mindset then changed, this wasn’t a bad thing.  My children were smiling and giggling, chasing and being chased by the dog.  He was also amazing company for me, as I had become quite lonely very quickly.  If you are used to living with someone for a large amount of time, when they leave you feel a loss.

In the last 3 years, the dog has made the house a home again.  He is awesome, I don’t mind admitting it.  He has listened to many a moan from me, watched endless episodes of Breaking Bad by my side and often gone for walks to help me clear my mind.

Now I wouldn’t be without him, but I find it sad the children miss him terribly when they stay at their mother’s new house.  She made a fateful error of buying another sausage dog to stay there but the children love their one.  When they come home, the dog rushes to the door and the kids rush to him and they roll on the floor together.

Whilst an animal cannot ever replace the family unit for children, the unrequited love between them fills a void.   It was a godsend for me, I had spent ages wondering what I could do to re-assure my children that everything would be ok.  What is lovely though is going in their bedrooms and seeing photos of the dog by their beds, or hand drawn pictures of him.  He also appears in school drawings!

I believe the children have associated the dog with the house, and in turn – security.  The dog represents a loving playful welcome and he is ultra protective of them, so they feel safe.

So don’t discount the joy a pet can bring, I certainly did and was so pleasantly surprised.   They say a dog is a man’s best friend and at this current time, he is mine.

house has gained in value…….dammit

When I first found out about the affair and my ex left, my house was the same price I bought it for.  Result…no equity to split with her.  However, she then took so very long to sign papers and finalise the divorce the house market has recovered.  Recovered so much in fact my house has a value of £195,800.  My mortgage is roughly £165,000 meaning an equity of thirty grand.

The excitable amongst you will now raise a beer and say “yay, you have cleared your debt”.

Not so my friends, and here is why.  Firstly, my ex still hasn’t asked for her half of the equity so £15k would be hers.  The reason this never happened is because the children still live in the family home 4 nights a week and was informed if she took the money I would be bankrupt and thus homeless.  She doesn’t need the money either right now on account of being looked after financially it seems!

Secondly, to get equity from a property you need to remortgage.  This is a no no as my credit history is now appalling.  Oddly when I took out the mortgage 8 years ago my credit score was superb, so good in fact if I applied for anything credit related the people would bow as they said yes!  I joke of course, but it was good.

So, I am actually worse off.  If my ex did her own research she would realise there is more money in the home than she realised.   Luckily she is pre-occupied but for home long?

But what if I declared bankrupcy?  yes I would lose my home but the equity would completely clear the debt and I could start again.  That is a very very attractive option and one I would welcome had I not had children.  This is their home, I made sure I kept hold of it after sound  advice from a child psychologist and the children themselves wanted to “stay in our family home”.

I suppose this isn’t totally bad news, at least if I do have to go down that route of putting my hands up, extending my middle finger to the Inland Revenue and going bankrupt, I know the debts will be paid off.  But I am still fighting to avoid that as you know

What I would like, from the government, is some sort of law where if two people have a joint mortgage and the relationship goes sour, that the mortgage should not be affected when the other person is taking off the house ownership.  I mean, why does the mortgage company care how many people live in the home if the mortgage is being paid?  In my case I paid every single payment yet they won’t give me the mortgage in my name.  Makes no sense at all.

Couples are the creditors favourite, but try to get the same approval as a singleton?  No go I am afraid.

Time to shred that new valuation!

I knew I was above average!

Interesting newspaper statistic today:

20140922_083641_resized

source: The Metro, 22nd September 2014

I note the “typically lose 11 nights worth a sleep a year”.  I lose at least 2 a week, there are 52 weeks in a year meaning I lose 104 nights sleep a year!  I am WAY above average.

But, on a serious note, no matter what you do debt is on your mind.  Even if you have a couple of good days, typically your money worries and financial concerns will either keep you awake or give you a nightmare.  It has happened to me many times.  I often wonder how many people lay there during the early hours just worrying about what is going to happen?

Debt is a serious problem, it doesn’t matter how or why you got in the position either, it changes your whole persona.  I don’t think I go more than a few hours without thinking about my own situation.  From my perspective, I think it makes it even worse when you have a family to support as well.

Nobody wants to fail, but you worry you will.  When you worry, you don’t sleep.  It’s that seemingly never ending circle.

Luck, coincidence or a sign of things to come?

Something’s in the air…I can smell it.   For the second time in a month I have walked outside my front door and found a five pound note on the pavement.  I mean, finding any money is a bonus, but the same value denomination in the same location twice in 4 weeks?  What am I looking at here, pure coincidence or the start of a lucky run?  Or…a higher power feeling sorry for me?

It’s strange though isn’t it, you pray for extra money to come your way.  I only every hope for money to pay off the debt and to make sure the kids have what they need.  I think it’s important not to be greedy if asking for help, and it’s not just these five pound notes.  I have also found other money has been appearing here and there, not great values but helpful all the same.

What this does is throw up whether the power of higher thought works?  Does appealing to whomever get the right attention?  I need to be clear though, I am not religious in any way but I do consider myself open-minded to the power of the universe.  Hell what do I have to lose, I won’t rule anything out!

The important thing, as previously written about, is to stay positive.  To believe things will change.  We all know life is not pre-planned, it is hard and brings moments that are tough to deal with.  I think that these moments are the counter balance to the happy joyous times.  It is how you deal with them that defines your strength and I believe being positive helps that.

Next time finding a fifty pound nice would be good though!

Brown envelopes always mean bad news

I knew they would be coming, aside from the fine last week I haven’t received a threatening brown envelope in a few weeks.  Of course, the envelope isn’t threatening, but the content is.  The HMRC may as well send poison in it.

So, when you are self employed you have 4 areas to pay:

1. PAYE/NIC

2. Self Assessment

3. VAT

4. Corporation Tax

Happily for me, I can pay off number 1 next week, but this still leaves 3 areas that I now owe.  I owe them as I closed my company but, if you recall from previous post about the  hmrc my negotiations were a waste of time and I got fined anyway!  This letter is about debt number 2.

Debt 2 has seen some success, you see you pay half at the beginning of the year and the second half later on.  That second half is based on your projected half yea earningsr, but as I closed the company in June I successfully managed to negotiate £5600 off that bill as they agreed I wouldn’t owe it.   But, I do still owe some….hence the letter!

If I am truthful, I am not completely worried about this one (yet).  I think I can pay it off via selling some things, careful budgeting, and try getting permission from my mortgage company to take those 2 accrued payment holidays.   But, one envelope always brings others and the others will be debts 3 and 4, and those debts will have no traction at all.

So what would you do in my position?  I think I am going to request a personal hearing with a judge and try and negotiate something.  When you are in debt, all you do is negotiate.  Perhaps I should have worked in sales!

The concern for me though is that this may go the same way that put me in this trouble, that all the separate entities demand payment at once.  That is normally how the HMRC works.

I guess we wait and see, whatever happens this time I won’t panic.

Your children’s doodles can tell you a lot

At the end of each school day, when I have the children, I empty their school bags.  Out comes the rubbish but mostly it is letters or homework.   Same for every parent.

However, you children’s drawings can tell you a lot on how they see things.  It so happened the project for my son this week was to make a mini book called ‘My Family’, which immediately makes me very nervous.  It makes me nervous as I am a father who just wants his children to be happy and I guess I worry there may be something bad in the drawings.

The book was yet another eye opener.  You see, my son has always been a mummy’s boy although not as much as he used to be.  I would never discourage my children’s love for their mother, nor bad mouth her, as much as I would LOVE to!  His little book was 6 pages of how he perceives his family and his home.  Cheerfully entitled My Famile (sic), the book opened up to a picture of 3 people.  2 females, a male and the dog!  My heart sank but I read the rest of the book anyway, which showed the house and his favourite parts which was pretty much his bedroom and his FIFA game!

But I was too quick to assume, my son wanted to describe the book.  The drawings  were not of 2 females and a male, they were himself holding his sister’s hand, and the tall person was me.  I did well to keep my composure as he described that this was his family NOT mummy.

He is so young but wise enough to distance his mother from the house set up.  Nobody has prompted this either, I just assumed he would be closer to his mum.   He then informed me that being home with me makes him feel safe.

In a divorce or the break up of parents, we fail to spot that children form their own assumptions and reasons on how things are.  The most important thing is not to lie, but you can choose to withhold facts as the truth will only cause upset.  And, as proven today, your children will make their own mind up and tell you in ways you can never expect.

Keep an eye on those doodles if you want to understand what your children are thinking, they can tell you a lot.