Wednesday, August 15, 2007

OK Take a Breath and BREATHE

I got the call the other day from the Para-legal in my attorney's office. She needed two more items then I would be ok to come in and sign. Ok to come in and sign. That meant the final signature on my Bankruptcy Petition for the Court.

I said OK, I'll find the information and send it to you. I hung up the phone and felt my heart drop to the bottom of my stomach. It was happening, it really was.

How did I get to Bankruptcy? Well, to quote the Queen of Personal Finance, Karyn Bosnak, 'Swipe, Sign and it was Mine." Sort of.

For a number of years I had managed my credit cards, I have a house with a small mortgage, I had a car payment, I had student loans. Someplace along the line I just made a lot of bad financial decisions, lots of bad decisions. I did realize at one point in time to stop using credit and pay for everything with cash, which I did, but I also spent the cash. I made some late payments on my car loan and then my credit card rates skyrocketed. One card went from 8% to 28% in less than three months. The headway I was making paying down my debt was wiped out. I could not keep up with the payments with the increased interest rates. I had 5 Credit Cards, almost all of them maxed out and in the five digit range and things got crazy. I had no savings, no emergency cash, none of those practical things someone should have. I lived paycheck to paycheck and it caught up with me. Plus my personal life and relationships had taken a weird turn. In and amongst this fiscal nightmare, I'm having to re-evaluate many of my personal relationships (and business ones as well).

How this happened, I have several theories, at one point I was a responsible person, with savings, a retirement plan, a boyfriend, a good job, hardly any debt.

All I can say at this point is my life fell apart. I could not pay my bills, I could not write checks out, I was paralyzed to pick up the phone and talk to Master Card. My part time business fell apart and I had to cut my (substantial) losses and end my business partnership. My partner ended up being more of a liability than an asset and at least I was smart enough to realize I was being taken advantage of for my skills and not being compensated for them. I just could not do it. I put my head in the sand and imagined the worst happening to me and it did.

If you believe The Secret, then you know about the Law of Attraction and all I was attracting was the bad stuff. Part of me wanted to know how this could have happened to me. I felt like a magnet and all I was attracting was the bad stuff. Now mind you I used to attract all sorts of good stuff. People, dogs, money, gifts, clients, possessions, it was all good stuff.

My goals now are to come back from bankruptcy. How to bounce back? I'm not sure yet. The court has not approved my petition, I still am not sure what is going to happen or what I will do.

Here are my goals, writing them down makes them tangible

1) Keep breathing and Keep positive
2) Make a new financial plan. I've already started by opening a HSA as my new job does not have a great health plan and I need to take better care of me
3) Remind myself that I am lucky enough to have food on my table and roof over my head.
4) Start planning for a better life, it may mean new friends, but plan for and expect better days.
5) Find a way to get financing for a new car- Now you may be saying, Bouncing, why would you want to finance a new car after your recent fiscal experience? Well my current vehicle is 9 years old and has 220,000 miles on it, I've put all but 41 of those miles and the poor car is starting to show it's age. More than anything else, I have good car karma, as long as the car is not red. Red Car and I have ïssues", any other color, we are good to go. When my petition is approved, I will be able to afford a new reliable vehicle. My current car is still reliable, but starting to fade..........
6) Get back in to Physical shape. Partly due to the stress, my physical health is being stressed. I know it's all due to the stress. I know it. I have to change it, plus I've eaten my way to two larger dress sizes and can't afford new clothes. I've turned into a round mound and I DONT LIKE IT!'I will never be slim and trim, but I know I can be fit and curvy and not a round mound.

I'm hoping to use this space to vent about this process and what I'm going through. I hope to end up making this a resource center for people in my situation. I really feel so alone in this entire process, so alone. Who wants to admit to anyone they have failed? Or to have the stigma that they are BANKRUPT.

I am going to work on turning my life around. I need it! And I'm starting to Breathe again. And that is good!


Ian Denny said...

I completely understand. My problem was business bankruptcy. I'd heard about blogs but never really understood what they were. I'd heard they were online diaries, so I thought I might find some. I struggled and Ladies in the red (google it) was the closest.

So I started one. Yours looks great.

I think you have a great sense of humour by the way!

JessicaRN said...

I just came across your blog and hope to continue reading and learning. My husband and I are about ready to file and I am so nervous about it. Honestly, we should have filed about five years ago, but I thought I really could pull out of the debt, but with the credit card rates so high (our highest is 31.94%), there is no way we can do it. Thanks for blogging about this, I could use some