Am I allowed to be smug?

Well now, it seems like my ex-wife is having a hard time of it at the moment with some bad luck.  So, do I act smug or not react at all?  Is this where we battle with Karma?  I have been waiting for a long long time for Karma to pay her a visit, but if I gloat am I inviting Karma to come back for me?  Tricky one isn’t it?

Sod it, I’m going to allow myself a wry smile.

Lest we forget what I have been put through by her, and then all the other personal nightmares I have had.   At some point everyone who has been wronged secretly hopes for some sort of retribution?   It doesn’t have to be anything major but something is good.

Over the last week she has had some a couple of bits of bad news/luck.  Nothing to do with me of course, I don’t tend to meddle in people’s lives.  The timing is not good of course, we are now in the Christmas countdown so any unnecessary, unexpected expenses are unwelcome.  I, more than most, know the stress of those little unwelcome financial surprises.   It is nice though that it is her, and not me, on the receiving end.

Those who follow the blog will, hopefully,  understand my attitude, new followers please read from the very beginning.  Whether Karma exists is debatable, perhaps life just catches up with people in it’s own time.   I am not exactly sure what I believe but I do know that I believe that we are on a path, but the steps are never set in stone (pardon the pun).   Depending what decision you make, your life takes the appropriate turns.  Make enough effort to cope with bad times, and the good times come back. Equally, if you continue to coast through life, treating people like garbage, then at some point you hit a bad turn.  I think, actually I hope, this is one of hers.

It is her turn to struggle a little bit, and I am ok to be smug.  Each week I chip away at the debt, and try my hardest to improve my life through effort and research.

Isn’t it strange, someone you once said that you would love forever you now cannot stand?   But, if you take enough hits from them then sadly that love is broken down.

Her time has been coming, is it now my time to shine?

I truly hope so.

Black Friday (UK) deals

What a busy day bargain hunting, but not for the same bargains as the masses of other hysterical people.   I don’t think it has ever taken that long to get to town, are they savings though?  Most of the ones I saw online were based on RRP prices from July, but needless to say there were bargains to be had.

I did most of my research online and, as such, I then nailed 6 xmas presents today!   I spent less than £100 looking for toys.  Bargain hunters seem to aim for the high end electrical goods but these will depreciate in value quickly, but toys at a 1/4 of the price?  That’s Christmas sorted for my nephews and nieces.  Quite pleased with myself actually.

That is the point of living on a shoestring, you are delighted with any saving you can find!  You all know I was worried about Christmas and how to afford it.   It’s tough and scary, nobody wants to fail as a parent.  They want happy faces on their kids, so I strive to do that.  I don’t care if I don’t have brand new clothes or things in my home, those times will come again I am sure.

Still hopeful some of these competition entries pay off, haven’t won anything notable for a while.

Next week is December, still some shopping to get done but most of it will be online I think.   I am lucky that where my office is, is right on a major high street so any additional shopping is done on my lunch hour.  This saves extra trips in the car as well, see how I count the savings now?

How boring a life that is, but necessary.  If I have learnt anything from this debt nightmare it is how to find the things you need for less.  That is a life skill I will hold on to if (when) I win the lottery!

We can all dream……..

Underestimated the admin!

Apologies for the quietness, been so busy!  Not just with work, but all the admin!   I knew I would have forms to fill in for the Insolvency but wow.

I had already completed a mountain of paperwork and forms, but then I received my ‘director questionnaire’ from the high court.  It is 48 pages, 46 of which are questions around your financial acumen and how you conducted yourself.  Most of them I could answer but some of the questions are so ambiguous that it is hard to know what to put!

Questions such as “Did you, or are you/have you been aware of, any directorship directly or indirectly linked to the “company” at the perceived date?”  what perceived date??  confused…so I put no!  Or did they mean the company that has gone Insolvent?  Who knows.

I did my best with it though, and was as honest as I could be.

In addition, I had the car accident back in July.  I finally received my medical report and proceed forms.   Again, 28 pages of reporting on a meeting I had ages ago, and then an expenses form for minor trivial expenses.   Again, all done and in the post.

As if my hand was aching enough, I attended my Driver Awareness Course and was handed renewal forms for my driving license as that expires in 8 months.  It feels like there is a mountain of paperwork that I have got through but luckily I have a huge backup of stamps to use!

Sometimes you have to get this stuff done, and things like my blog and entering competitions are forced to take a back seat.

But, all admin is done and out of the way, so back to real life.  Is that a good thing???

Each day is another step forward

A major part of being in major debt and dealing with an affair, and the subsequent split/divorce, is that you are always looking to make improvements.  When my life was stable, as in I was happy and with manageable standard debt like credit cards, I just took life as it was.   Having your life largely controlled by external factors doesn’t just change you emotionally, it changes your whole way of acting.

A large part of every week is looking for improvements that will lead to a saving of some sort, small and large savings all help.  Sometimes I get a result, this week I have saved 25% off my council tax yearly bill after the local council conceded that I do in fact live alone.  I have been trying for 2 months to prove this, made difficult by the fact my ex is still on the mortgage and electoral role.  A fact that is changing next year by the way.   A fantastic saving though that will help me enormously.

This is another example though of a saving that helps not just me, but my children.  Every extra penny gives us a better life, or as better a life as I can give them.

My competition entering continues to go well, another 3 kids prizes won this week.  Makes the effort worth it.

I often wonder where my week has gone.  I spend the week working, being a dad, entering competitions, following up ways to get in extra money (PPI claims, Financial Ombudsman are 2 good examples), and online shopping around.  Oh and Ebay, a way of making money and finding things you want at a fraction of the cost.

I do hate it though, I would love a life of not having to do this.  It takes a lot of work, but the rewards make it worth doing.  Perhaps I miss out some things I like but not all, and at least I get my children 4 nights a week.

I read a lot of other debt related blogs, and I know they read this one.   The biggest fact I had to learn quickly was not to sit and break down.  It is unlikely you will ever get out of it by sitting and praying for a miracle, so look for ways to make it better.   Savings and advice will always help.  You might not like some of things you have to do, for example my Insolvency decision, but if it can you through the other side then never worry about people’s opinions.

You can never stop feeling ashamed by your situation, just don’t dwell in it.

All done – Insolvent

Well, the meeting happened today and it’s official – My company is insolvent.   Loads of forms for me to sign but importantly none of my creditors turned up to the meeting, which made it really easy.

There were 4 creditors due, my bank, my accountant and the HMRC (2 debts) and none were interested in attending.  Although that is good news, it kind of shows how you are viewed.  The debt of £24,000 is massive to me but apparently not worth anybody else’s time!

What happens now is that all the forms and reports are sent to the creditors and Companies House, and I will appear in the paper next Thursday.  Coincidentally, I am in London next Thursday so may buy the financial paper out of morbid curiosity.   It is sad though, I worked very hard to set myself up but in the end, the HMRC and family related issues meant I could never carry it on.  Once you find yourself in trouble, you rarely get out of it.

With regards to the timelines, everything will be completed by 31st January 2015.  Any of the Creditors, before that time, can challenge anything they like but as my company has a total asset listing of NIL, the Insolvency Practitioner and I find it unlikely we will see that challenge as it is a waste of time.

I don’t feel great about it at all though, a lot of you will think I should be relieved but not really.   It’s still a form of giving up in my eyes but life teaches you that you cannot fix every situation.  Sometimes you have to stand up and say “I’ve done all I can, help?” and this is what happened here.

For anyone going through this, or planning on Insolvency, this is what it means to me personally.   The Insolvency goes against my company and not me personally, meaning I do need to declare it.   The Insolvency does not touch personal possessions so I won’t lose my home.  Finally, it stops brown envelopes.  The flood of them with the associated threats.

For that peace of mind, the decision has been the correct one.

Run of bad luck continues

Those who follow my blog are aware, by now, that bad luck follows me avidly.  I seem unable to avoid it, but still hope that at some point my luck will turn.  Perhaps not strictly bad luck this time, but I will put it in the same bag if I may.

The point I always try to make is that I never seem to be able to not pay out for things, I just never get a clean break.   Despite looking forward to my Insolvency meeting tomorrow, and the promise of a glimmer of financial freedom, 2 more things have happened.  One will most definetly hit my bank account, the other…maybe not.  It will totally depend on whether I bother to get it repaired.

So, my dishwasher has broken.   It’s irritating timing, like most things that break I guess.   I will need to get it repaired as the kids and pets generate lots of things to wash up.  I have no idea how much it will be, but whatever the cost it will eat into my Christmas budget.

Now the next one.  Last time I got home quite late, due to a major road being closed on the way home.  The lateness meant there was little parking in my road, so I was forced to park right up the other end, the first car parking space in the road actually.  I walked up to get it this morning and discovered some total scumbag has keyed it.  They have dragged a key along every panel of the passenger side.   Remember I have only just got the car back from the repair place, so I was livid.  Actually, livid doesn’t even begin to describe it.  I have never understood why people do this to cars, what do they get out of it?   I would love to catch someone, I really would.

The car will cost a lot of money to put right but am I going to do it? no….I don’t have the money at all and what’s the point?  Evidently we cannot have nice things (although the car is 5 years old now but still in nice looking shape), lowlife people take it upon themselves to wreck them.  They are unaware of how my life has been of course, as they dragged their key down my car, laughing.   For me, I was raging.  I suspect this is a build of emotion and frustration recently.

It does feel personal, all these things that keep happening.  At the risk of repeating previous post themes, I feel like life is doing all it can to stop me getting back on my feet quickly.  It feels personal too as it doesn’t seem to happen to anyone else I know, always me.

I have to ask, when will it stop?

It’s done. I manned up.

Hi all

I know you have been waiting to see whether I phoned my parents, and I did.  It took me a while to build up to it but I did it.  It went how I thought it would, the words I expected to see of how proud they are, and want to help.  However, and I knew it wouldn’t, it didn’t stop the shame.   I cannot stop that feeling, just complete humiliation.

I expected my life to be so so different, but it isn’t.  I keep thinking of all the things that went wrong, and what led to this.  But, is this life, you are dealt what you are dealt.  It is just a shame that most of my cards have been rubbish.

Back to this though, my parents will loan me the money.   This means I can go down the insolvency route and stop the HMRC coming at me.   So why do I not feel any relief?  It is hard to explain, very hard actually, that even small victories mean nothing until I pay things off.   I realise my parents will never pressure me, and indeed have stated there is no rush at all to pay it off, but I am just not looking forward to going round.

It may sound irrational, but I just feel if you owe people money you cannot do anything that appears affluent.  For example, a holiday as it looks (to me) like you are using money you could have used to pay people back.  Even if people may not see it that way, but I do.

My point is, I am still trapped.  Not trapped in a situation whereby my house and possessions could be taken away, but by the knowledge that I am not free to live a ‘normal’ life.  It means that that even if on certain paydays I may find myself to be lucky enough to have an extra couple of hundred pounds, I cannot use it for a treat.

In essence, my life remains on hold.  Just with less people chasing me.

Bottled it

So, I bottled it.  I went round to my parent’s place and was all ready to talk to them but the timing was somehow not there.  Normally my kids go and play but yesterday they wanted to play games with Nana!

Ordinarily I get asked questions about how it is going, am I still being hassled by the HMRC, can they help somehow etc.  I had planned my replies to the expected questions but they somehow never came along.  So I will do it tomorrow.

I think I am more comfortable doing it over the phone, which may sound odd to some of you.  But try to look it from my perspective, it is very uncomfortable to ask.  Mentioned the shame element many times, at least on the phone I can hide my face and emotion.  I am very much a closed book and, prior to this blog, barely anyone knew anything about myself or my situation.

I can have everything written down too, to chat over the phone.  Then I don’t get distracted, or side tracked.   I need to just be honest and get it over with.

When you are in debt, and trying to find a way out, you will find yourselves in so many uncomfortable positions.  Meetings that you do not want to be in, multiple forms you do not want to be filling in, your personal and financial life being probed and questioned.  The thing about being in debt is it so much more about just being skint, it is very very intrusive.   But, as intrusive as it is, you are still able to manage who in your inner circle knows.  Other than the dreaded brown envelopes, there is no other way of people finding out unless they have a real reason to look at you.

That is why it is difficult to actually admit to family and friends.   You are almost breaking your own code of secrecy but needs must, I am out of options.

Therefore, tomorrow, I will do it.

If all else fails, go home

Where, assuming you have reached this age, do/did you think you would be at middle age?  Me, I hoped to be settled on a personal and financial basis.  Sadly, that is not the case.

I am out of options for raising the initial funds for the Insolvency, I have tried multiple options and my last option today has not panned out either.  This leaves only one way to go, a humiliating cap in hand walk to my parents.   Please don’t get me wrong, they offer to help me multiple times in a month so the shame is on my part.   Who would actually feel comfortable with asking your parents for a few thousand pounds?

It will be paid back, everyone I have ever borrowed money from has been paid back.  Except for the HMRC of course, but that is a very different matter.  I feel very uncomfortable with borrowing money from family or friends, despite the genuine offer it puts a different pressure on me.

This time it is important, this is not for personal debt clearance or to give me extra money, it is to draw a line under my company and it’s debts.  It looks like, until I clear this debt, that embarrassment comes hand in hand with it.   It is has been going on so long now I forget what it feels like to have wages and have zero to pay out.

I’ll go round this weekend and get it over with.  Believe me, I can’t look any more pathetic than I already look.

Was it ever good enough?

There are times, after the split and divorce, where I have to wonder if what I had to offer was simply not enough.  Remember for last Christmas her partner bought her a 14K car.  He also moved her into his 4 bedroom ‘marital home’, the same home she was after from the start, and then fully redecorated from scratch to her standards and requests (demands).

He also employs her as an assistant, and now the kids tell me she has a luxury tropical fish tank with her favourite puffer and angel fish in.

Do you know what it feels like?  Everything I said no, or not just yet, is presented on a plate.   In my world we had real life, kids and bills to pay.  Everything came with time, in fact she had 3 new cars to my one.  I have to admit though, I thought I had done extremely well to provide everything for my family, but evidently it was not enough.

However, she fails to see the bigger picture.  Her partner’s wife, once divorced, was very vocal about how relieved she was to get away from his controlling ways.  Employing her, giving her a car, providing a home where her name isn’t on it at all is controlling.  In effect, he could take it all away in a heartbeat and secretly I do hope that happens one day.

I have to wonder if I had backed down and said yes to everything, would she have not cheated?  Of course she would have, her nature would not have changed.  It was only a matter of time, but it doesn’t stop a little bit of resentment on my part watching her swan around like Lady Muck.

I think my house is ok, and my kids love it.  I spoke to them the other day about if daddy ever wins some money on the lottery, that we will move to a nicer home and they both demanded we stay here.  The house is still very much their security I guess.

There is only so much you can do, if someone is always looking for something better then you are fighting a lost cause.   I never feel jealous of her lavish new lifestyle, just very bitter based on my daily struggle to make ends meet.   Today I had to replace some clothes for the kids, and get a gift for a party.  The ex saw them, commented, no offer of paying half as usual.

It is honestly like she left this life behind and just started a new one, left the house / me/ friends and just got new ones.

One day though, I would love to see envy in her eyes.  If only for my personal gratification.

For the next person that I choose to share my life with, I will most definetly be good enough.