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As a family, we first started talking about debt in 2013 when things got to the lowest point.
We were skint – proper skint. It wasn’t about being able to afford a few pints at the pub, we didn’t have enough money to even get a food shop.
Our debt had spiralled to an uncontrollable level and it seemed to do so very quickly.
We had been managing repayments (although not in the best way), but the mounting interest payments just got higher each month to the point we just couldn’t afford the debt.
Keeping debt to ourselvesSharing our debt story actually caused a big argument in our own home.
As a couple, we did openly talk about money and the issues we were having, but we kept it quiet to everyone else. My wife was adamant we kept it that way.
She felt it was no one else’s business and it was a private matter. She’d be ashamed if her family, friends, and colleagues found out what we’d been going through.
She compared that being open about our debt problems was like airing our dirty laundry for the whole world to see.
It’s when I wrote a blog post about how we were surviving on the breadline, how we tried to make a few quid last us until payday and how we were struggling that she really wasn’t happy.
She was embarrassed that I had written it and planned to publish it. She thought it would cause big issues and she’d be ashamed. Our (heated) discussion ended in her going to bed, while I stayed up half the night considering our options.
We were at the end. We had run out of all options. We had no money left and had no way of getting any new credit. We were bust.
The only way to make things better and change our lives was to take our heads out the sand, fully change up what we were doing and push forward for a better life.
While my wife agreed, she just wanted to do it on our own terms, without sharing the details with everyone. Against her wishes, I published the post…when she woke up in the morning she was livid.
However, it only took a bit of time until she changed her mind.
Talking about moneyEven a few years back, when we started to discuss how stupid with money, debt wasn’t really spoken about that much.
Sure, people are happy to talk about money when they have it and can flash the cash. But when the news isn’t so good, people want to hide away and don’t feel comfortable talking about things.
So, when we talked about our money issues it got a reaction – a big reaction.
People were somewhat shocked to hear us open up so frankly. They were shocked that we laid out whole lives on our blog for all to see.
But you know what happened? Other people started to talk too.
They told us of their issues, they were happy to share their debt problems and what they were doing to get debt free. They shared tips to spend less money and save more.
Over the last five years, I have seen an increase in the number of people who are willing to open up and talk about their own debt issues.
People appreciate having someone to talk to. They felt ok to discuss things knowing that we understood what they were going through.
Is debt a taboo?Debt is only a taboo if you allow it to be. It can control you and not allow you to live the life you want.
You might think you’re weak if you admit you’ve been struggling. But, you know what, you’re not the only one in debt (and unfortunately you won’t be the last).
Debt comes in all shapes and sizes.
If you’ve lost your job or had a change in circumstances, it can really affect your finances. Staying silent, because you think it’s a taboo subject, will only make things worse in the long run. More than damaging your credit file, it can upset relationships, it can ruin your mental health and it can have a detrimental impact on your life.
With so many people talking about debt now, it’s no longer a taboo.
Come and say hiYes, I know there are some people who still want to hide away and if that’s you, please do come out and say hi.
You wouldn’t believe how much of a weight is lifted when you just talk about it.
Ok, talking won’t make the debt magically disappear, but it will be the start of getting clear of your debt and making a clean start in life.
If you want to talk to people going through a similar situation then come and join our community on Facebook.
For debt advice, please do reach out to PayPlan who will be able to give you free and impartial debt advice and help you on your journey to being debt free.