So, as the blog progresses we will move through the stages of the debt increase and the marriage failure. But, there is still a time in any story where you hold your hands up and say “Yep, I made some blunders, and some were real belters” This, my friends, is that time, and it is being done early!
Do you know what statement I hate? apart from my bank statement obviously…this one – “with hindsight you wouldn’t have made those decisions”. Well obviously…
So, I would like to state decisions I think were poorly made, that have ultimately contributed to this ongoing nightmare.
1. Taking on my own accounts
now, I will take the blame for this BUT not 100%. The error here was the speed I did not employ an accountant (although that also backfired a little, we will discuss this later in a different post). When I went self employed it was not by choice, it was the first decent role that came up in IT in 2004. It happened to be contracting, and it went very well as I was placed there by an umbrella company. I got a few new contracts and was earning excellent money, and then agencies and employers didn’t want to use Umbrella Companies any more. So, instead of getting an accountant I thought I could do it myself, despite having no qualifications at all and failing GCSE maths, twice, with a D. By the time I realised I hadn’t left enough in the account for different bills, I was already in trouble.
2. Buying Cat C and Cat D cars
so, my luck with cars is appalling. I am on car number 28 now, they either die or get written off. I needed a new car one year but couldn’t afford one, then I found out about cat c and cat d cars! Well….my eyes opened. I could get newer cars with ‘minimal damage’. My plan, to buy one of these for very little and pay for the repair, giving me a saucy new car for 50% under the price. There are two flaws, 1) it costs more than you think to repair* and 2) you can’t sell it on afterwards. It would have been cheaper to get a finance agreement, the interest would have been higher but in the long run it would have cost less.
* see number 3 for further info
3. Trusting the family mechanic
My wife had an affair with the family mechanic, quite when it started is still up for debate. However, there came a point where my car would break down every month, or when I picked it up it had to go straight back in. After a while, my wife was taking the money straight to him and picking up/dropping off the cars. You can see the picture can’t you? I should have worked that one out a while ago. Why the mistake here, well I suspect some of the repairs were not necessary or created for me to return (or her to return) and the bigger one, and a brilliant piece of advice I got but ignored “a shoulder to cry on becomes a c0ck to ride on”. It appears that is the case. Number 2 and 3 link to debt and divorce.
It was a gamble, based on prior history. But, I did love her so I can’t say it was a total mistake, more of a gamble I lost. The mistake here was the wedding cost 28K. Yes, that was not a typo, it was 28K. I could cover a lot of it, but this is when I started using my overdraft. I am still in it 5 years later.
5. Working shifts
On paper,brilliant. week off every 3 weeks, nights, days etc. The summary, more time at home with my family. The drawback, you miss half the month and you get half the pay. I can directly link some of my first major missed HMRC payments to taking a contract shift role.
So there you go, probably made other poor decisions. But these 5 are my main ones.