On my way to work recently I heard three ads for services that sparked a deep concern.
They were for services to get your debt slashed significantly – to “pay less than you owe”.
Before you get indignant and decide to fire off a steaming email to me about my ‘lack of sensitivity ‘or ‘clearly privileged’ perspective allow me to give you a bit of background – a statement of my perspective.
I’m not wealthy. Never been.
My privileges have been the invaluable privileges stemming from self-esteem that worked well most of my life (thank you to my dear Grandfather and my Auntie), a thirst for learning (thank you Auntie and Daddy) and the gift of reading (thank you Mom), that have helped both guide and bolster me as I build and then rebuilt and rebuilt again a life of full of blessings.
I’ve been blessed with a great deal in this life including some amazing people, experiences and trips – but certainly never a lifestyle or income that would qualify me for inclusion in the top 50% never mind the top 1%.
I know what it is like to have an overwhelming level of debt and an underwhelming level of income.
The thing is – debt isn’t just about money.
It’s about taking responsibility. I borrowed. That means I owed the return of what I borrowed – money – to credit card companies and a mortgage company. One of my blessings is that I had anything left to sell. My precious inheritance from my father and my pretty home. Gone.
Some don’t have anything to sell or an income that even approaches a living wage. And for those folks I would agree that these types of services not only make sense but are a god-send of an option. Run, don’t walk, towards this solution if you’re in that category.
But if you borrowed, you have a decent job, and you just want to get out of credit card payments that you now realize are eating your paycheck in huge bites let me suggest something else.
Call the credit card companies yourself – don’t delegate this to a third party – and suggest a specific and date driven plan to pay off your debt. Ask for a drop in the interest rate for the period of time covered by your plan. Get creative – get in touch with them and at least start the conversation. You don’t really know what ‘they won’t do’ until you ask.
And then follow that plan.
To the letter.
Taking responsibility is the first step to taking the lead.