A few days ago I wrote that for every two steps I take forward, I appear to suffer being pushed back three. I could not see any way out of the situation I was facing, and it started to eat me up from the inside.
I am a naturally pessimistic person and automatically assume the worst of any given situation or list of potential outcomes. When the second “we don’t have any money” email came out from the Big Boss at work, I concluded that redundancy was only a paycheck or two away. It may well be, but I don’t know that. It could conceivably be a year or two away. Equally I may escape redundancy altogether. It’s entirely an unknown quantity right now.
I saw my goal of debt freedom within my grasp. After freeing myself from consumer debt, I had planned to speed-save my way to paying for my divorce when the bill finally comes in and then starting to save for my future. Everything was going to plan until those darn emails. Debt-freedom suddenly vanished.
If I paid my debt off in November when the spreadsheet said I could – but then get made redundant – I won’t be able to pay my solicitor. Net result: Still in debt.
If I carry my consumer debt but set aside a proportion of my savings I have to pay my solicitor when the time comes – but then get made redundant – I won’t have enough to pay the settlement fee on my loan. Net result: Still in debt.
Whichever way I regurgitated those scenarios, I came out with the same result. This virtually demolished all the emotional building up I’d given myself over the past year in short order. I felt (and still do to a degree) like I was back in December 2008 again: Out of time, out of options, and despite all my hard work, still out of money.
Then I read an article over at The Simple Dollar while randomly surfing. I don’t remember which and didn’t have the presence of mind at the time to bookmark it, so I am sorry I cannot share the origin of my epiphany with you. But it provided an amazing idea to me.
If I carry my consumer debt but set aside a proportion of my savings to pay my solicitor – and then get made redundant – I can claim on my Payment Protection Insurance! I am uncertain if the cover lasts for 12 months of payments or “until employed again” (I need to read the small print), but either way, it’s a winner. If they will cover 12 months of payments then my end-insurance settlement will be somewhere around the £4,000 mark. I will have that in savings even after paying off the solicitor, with any luck.
My perception shifted.
My goal is now to become notionally debt free, even if I don’t make it happen the moment it becomes theoretically possible. When (if?) I get comfortably beyond a positive net worth, then I will consider actually making the settlement payment. Until then, I will keep my final piece of consumer debt. The insurance on it may perversely provide a lifeline allowing the payment of another, future debt.
So thank you Trent for indirectly providing me with the idea of how to dig myself out of a hole that has not been dug yet except in my head. But having the rope and tie-off point prepared should it happen is very comforting.
The take-away lesson from this is, I guess, however bad things seem – with enough effort and help from your friends, there is always a way out to be found.