Friday, April 12, 2013

Drowning in DEBT - A Cautionary Tale

The following post was sent to by an anonymous author. The opinions in this post do not reflect the opinions of the writers or editors of Thank you.

I grew up with a mother who was the best saver on earth. She taught us all the value of saving, becoming homeowners and working hard. I grew up believing I was good with money. I got married and soon discovered I was not very good with money at all and my husband was worse than me. Actually I married my husband and expected him to magically provide for my every financial need and whim. I didn't want to manage our money or think even about how to handle financial decisions. I deferred it all to my him and soon we were drowning. That's my FIRST regret. As women we often want men to come in and take care of us. I learned the hard way that I'd have to take care of myself, always. 

I married a man who adored me, made a great living right out of college and fueled his day to day with dreams of wealth and financial freedom. Soon after marriage we became homeowners, parents and started keeping up with the "Joneses." All was good until my husband decided to build his own business. He quit his job and though financially terrifying (and something my mom would't recommend) I followed him. We poured everything into a business that ultimately failed. It was the ugliest time of my life and to think I was only in my mid-twenties. We became buried in debt through lines of credit, credit cards, payday advances, personal loans, pawn shop hustles and anything else to make a quick buck.

One might think you could isolate the financial issues from a marriage, an extended family and even your own children, but you can't. My marriage was such a failure during those years of mounting debt. I was cruel to my husband. I hated him for not providing and yet I co-signed on all of his crazy schemes, pipe-dreams and wishful, but ultimately failed solutions. That's my SECOND regret. I blamed him for all of our failures. Our house almost foreclosing, our only car being repossessed, us living in a 250 sq. ft rental the size of a tool shed, yes the size of a tool shed in someone's backyard. I blamed him and so I was mean and bitter. I was not accountable to my role in our debt accumulation and I simply fought with him everyday. The man who adored me was left unrecognizable. I was angry. I was so, so, so immature.

The hardest part was the pretending. I didn't want anyone to know our business was tanking and that we lived in this little shed with our daughter. That she would cry and cry for a bottle and we didn't have two dollars for milk. We would fight in front of her. We were utterly unhappy and deeply depressed. The pressure of debt made us crazy.

I hated holidays the most. One mother's day I gave my mother a plant and vase from the $99 cent store. She probably thought I was nuts and blind. She didn't say a thing ever, but mom knew. My savvy-saving mom had to know. I remember dreading how Christmas was around the corner then remembering I had a credit card with Best Buy. That year everyone got DVDs and phone cases, but what do you buy your two-year-old from an electronics store? Luckily, I found a stuffed animal with headphones and thought "thank you God." I thanked God and inside felt like such a failure.

My FINAL regret was not acting sooner. I let my life spiral out of control because of debt. All because of dreams that though wonderful, my husband and I weren't ready to accomplish quite yet. We didn't know the discipline of business ownership and so we failed.

I eventually found a job. I remember meeting a man who sold cars in payments. I bought an old stick shift from him not knowing how to even drive it, but I knew I could pay him two hundred dollars every two weeks. I did this without my husband. I didn't need him to save me anymore. Slowly I got better and soon my husband who I had beat down with cruel words of hate and threats of divorce about daily, found a job too. We began working... we began saving... we began CHANGING!

I don't recognize us anymore and I am proud that we came away better not worse, together not apart. And sure we'll probably be old and gray still paying off debt, maybe we'll rent for a lifetime and maybe our children won't have too many luxuries afforded by credit cards, but they'll have a set of parents who weathered through financial turmoil and distress and still managed to stay together and build a life far away from that shed and those hateful words exchanged by mom and dad.

I have a great career as does my husband and together we've learned how to handle our finances, save money and act practically not wishfully. Together we've healed from the drowning effects of debt and we've regained our love and respect for one another. Hope this serves as a cautionary tale and by me sharing a bit of what happened to my family, it helps avoid it happening to another. 

Thank you for sharing your story anonymous. As you mention, hopefully others going through the same thing find value in what you learned through this experience. If you have a comment regarding this author's story, please share it below.

Otherwise, find out how you can submit your stories (anonymously or not) by clicking here.  

Finally, to everyone who submitted a post for anonymous guest post week, thank you! 


  1. This sounds scary and like a nightmare. But reality is most people don't live within their means and wanna live life now and think about it later. Credit is their easy way out or thinking someone else will bail them out of their messes. I just hope this inspires others cause it sure did scare me shitless.

    1. Great comment anonymous. Thank you for sharing your opinion. I agree that credit is a short-term fix that can lead to long-term problems if mismanaged.


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