Do men deal with debt?
It appears men are not really the ones who deal with finances at home. After a general survey of the Skint Dad Community Group, the consensus was that men either don’t have the time, cannot be bothered to deal with money or trust it all to their other halves to deal with.
This very much rings true to how I used to deal with things.
Drowning in debt
Back in 2013 we were messed up financially. We had been getting into more and more money trouble over the years, but this was the year things cracked.
It’s not like we didn’t try to sort things out beforehand. I remember my wife patiently sitting down in the evenings and mapping our budget, working through all our bills, our income, and even random receipts she could find to make things as accurate as possible.
She’d then sit there and go through everything with me: what had to be paid out, by when… but the truth was I wasn’t really interested. I’d been working all day (so had she to be fair) and was shattered. I was too tired to even think about money and just wanted to tuck up, warm and safe in bed.
A month or so would pass and I’d keep buying a paper and a can of coke on the way to work. I didn’t see the problem as these little purchases were so small that it wouldn’t make a difference. Trouble is they add up quickly and £2 odd a day turns into nearly £40 over a month. £40 still isn’t that much, but it is when you don’t have anything spare or look that it could pay a water bill or could stretch to a week’s food shop.
It was purely a case of I couldn’t be bothered. I just didn’t want to get bogged down with boring things like money. My wife on the other hand wouldn’t stop bringing it up from time to time, it played on her mind a lot, but I tried not to give it a second thought.
Ignoring debt doesn’t work
However, after carrying on living beyond our means, it was clear things were not working out. My wife would open letters that came through the door, stare at them for a while but then not have a clue what to do.
She was making minimum payments on a few of them that we could afford, but our payments on debt were eating into our day to day budget for household bills. She couldn’t work out who to pay, or what to pay first.
On the other hand, there were letters piled up on the side addressed to me, but I wouldn’t open them.
I knew it wasn’t a credit card company chasing me for payments; they had long sold my debt to a debt management company. I kept my phone on silent as I’d get at least six calls a day with someone or other seeing when I’d make a payment.
Male emotions and debt
From not being bothered a while back, I must admit that I was getting anxious about how this would all play out. But, I just buried my head in the sand.
Somehow, I thought that by ignoring everything it would somehow simply disappear. Well, it’s no secret that it didn’t. Money and debt troubles don’t just disappear. If you don’t deal with them they just get worse.
I had a huge sense of pride. Was it that, as a man, I was happier to take risks when it came to our finances? I’d just hope that they’d disappear so ignored it all.
I didn’t want to talk about my money issues as I found it really embarrassing, so didn’t even think to ask for debt help. Thinking about it now, I didn’t even have a clue where to go to get help in the first place.
It probably comes down to a big dose of machoness. I wanted to be seen as a breadwinner. By admitting that we didn’t have enough money to cover our bills and debts, it would put me in a bad light and would show I failed to provide properly for my family.
Deal with debt
And in the end…well my competitive nature got the better of me.
I turned the debts into a kind of sport – one that I determined I would beat. I pushed harder and harder to get payments cleared as quickly as possible, found ways to shave money off our outgoings to give us spare cash and looked into ways to increase the amount of money we have coming in month to month.
Debt had got my back up and I wanted to win.
I wanted to beat it so I could start afresh in live with no burden hanging over me, or my family.
Now things are very different. From a time when I didn’t care how much was in the bank, I am very careful with our budget and make sure we can afford what we’re going to buy, we are now saving into ISAs and I love nothing more than saving money at the supermarket!
Sure I may not be like the men or partners of people surveyed, but I sleep better knowing our bills are fully up to date.