From Public School To Food Banks – The Story of Horrible Debt EVERY Married Woman Should Read | Personal Finances | Finance
Too many women continue to depend on men to manage their finances and can fall apart if their partner does not play fair. Katherine, from Wales, only realized the danger when her husband abandoned her, leaving only debts.
Katherine, now 56, was married for 28 years with three children, plus one from a previous marriage.
She had worked as a successful fashion designer with David Bailey among others, had lived a solid middle class life with kids in private school, and everything looked good. âI had never borrowed money in my life, even from my mother,â she said.
Katherine made a big financial mistake, however. Like many women, she let her partner handle all the finances, and he took it all. “He even sold our cars and kept the money.”
The only thing in her name was a credit card – which her husband had used to accumulate thousands of pounds in debt that she needed to pay off.
She was in shock. âSuddenly I was left adrift without any support. I had no income or savings. I contacted everyone I knew to find odd jobs like cleaning just to get Â£ 10 to feed my kids.
Katherine was forced to make do with universal credit supplemented with an income of around Â£ 100 per week. âIt doesn’t go far when you’re a single parent with four dependent children. “
Life on the other side of the tracks opened my eyes. “No one realizes how difficult it is to escape poverty, until they find themselves trapped.”
His thoughts grew morbid. âI thought about ending it all, just to make it stop, but I continued for the sake of my children. Their father had left them, I didn’t want their mother to leave them too.
As the debts accumulated, the family was forced to use the food banks just to eat. Then a friend suggested that Katherine get in touch with StepChange Debt Charity.
She was reluctant at first. “I was in a really dark place and didn’t think anyone could understand or help.”
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Fortunately, she was wrong. âEveryone at StepChange was kind, calm, clear and understanding. They wrote letters to my creditors and put me on a debt management plan, which I have been on for five years now. Slowly, I get back on my feet.
Katherine wants people to know that if they are hitting rock bottom as well, there is free support.
“It’s not just the financial help, it’s the fact that you know someone is supporting you. I can’t tell you how much StepChange has made a difference in my life.”
StepChange is one of the few charities to offer their services for free, along with Citizens Advice and National Debtline.
Media chief Sue Anderson said rising energy and food bills, combined with the pressures of the holiday season, are already forcing more families into debt. “We would like the government to do more to prevent families from getting cold, hungry or losing their homes.”
Anderson added: “If you are lying awake at night asking for refunds, visit StepChange.org or call us on 0800 138 1111.
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There is plenty of free, unbiased debt advice out there, said Caroline Siarkiewicz, managing director of the government-funded Money and Pensions Service. âVisit our free debt advice locator tool at MoneyHelper.org.uk to see what’s available. “
Siarkiewicz said nearly two-thirds of site users with debts reduce or settle them within three to six months of receiving unbiased advice.
Beware of debt management companies that charge fees as they will only make your problems worse.
Katherine, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is rebuilding her life. “My kids are mostly adults, but we’re all very close because of everything we’ve been through.”
She can’t wait to get out of debt and get on with her life. âI cannot thank StepChange enough for their help and support. They really save lives.