Would you have been in debtor's prison 200 years ago?
29th September 2009
... Comments

Yes even in Tunbridge Wells we get in debt.

How many of us can honestly say we owe nothing? Nothing due, plenty of money in the bank, no debt, no not here.

Yes? We'll you'll be one of the few lucky ones then - or the terribly careful.

In today's financial climate I think nearly everyone owes something, even those who started off 'well heeled'.

Two hundred years ago, most of us would have ended up in debtor's prison, crawling with shame and the stigma of owing money. This could happen over amounts as little as a shilling (wish I owed that little!).

Nowadays there is much less shame in being in debt partly I believe because so many of us are, and we are now a Credit Culture.

I know a couple who have ended up in quite substantial debt, through no fault of their own. They have a modest income. They don't have lavish holidays. Their cars are getting on for elderly and they do much of the maintainance on them themselves. They shop moderately, and grow their own veg. They recycle and do their own maintenance and household chores. They have no mortgage and don't go out for meals and drinks often. Yet due to messy legal issues over residency of the children from his previous marriage, they are now quite considerably in debt and were struggling to make ends meet.

Sympathy won't pay the bills however, and they needed practical help.

Having dismissed those adverts you see on television promising to fix your debt problems, they did end up meeting with a debt advisor who was a 'friend-of-a-friend'.

Talking to him reassured them that there were practical solutions to their debt issues, and ways to take control and manage their money more effectively.

There are plenty of companies out there who offer debt management services, and some charge more or less in fees. Some charities like CCCS charge nothing at all. Clearstart charges very little, or claims their fees back from the creditors. However, there can be a waiting list for the charity options, and it may depend on how quickly you need to take action.

Talking to debt advisors could very well have saved my friend's necks, so now they owe something else apparently - gratitude.
If you know you have debt problems, don't hope they'll go away. One friend declared herself bankrupt over a relatively small amount - I'm sure there could have been another way out. Talk to a few advisors and debt management companies - in the first instance this is usually free - and do your homework. But don't leave it until the 'Sunday night last minute' - take control now.

If you're a debt management company in the Tunbridge Wells area and want to feature on TheBestOf Tunbridge Wells, get in touch via tunbridgewells@thebestof.co.uk


Regards, Natelie Fitzroy

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