Monday, 21 November 2016

Mountain of Debt

I hesitated about posting this because it's so personal, but I know I'm not the only person in this position.

I spent my Sunday afternoon shredding old bills because the paperwork is threatening to swamp me. It wasn't pleasant reading.  2013/2014 was a shitty time personally. My sister had terminal cancer and there were issues in my family which were all-consuming. But I stuck my head in the sand and ignored the greater financial problems.

Two years ago I was drowning in unpaid bills. I couldn't pay my tax bills and ignoring the tax man is a bad move. I'd gone from being okay to sinking rapidly, and I had letter after letter with big red ink all over it. Ever spent your time avoiding phone calls? That was me. Ironically, I was selling the most books at that point, but it wasn't enough to bring up two kids and run a house. I needed a job and some help.

Two things happened when I asked for help. 1) I talked to Clare London. Not only a talented author, but also a great accountant. You can find her here at Quids and Quills. 2) I talked to my publisher, Dreamspinner. The upshot of both was Clare took on the taxman, and I got a job. Thank you, Elizabeth North. You were a life-saver.

If I hadn't asked for help at that precise moment things would have got a whole lot more desperate as my book sales tanked. I'm not saying I'm out of debt (student loans anyone?). That's going to take a long time, but the monthly bills get paid and the taxman is happy for now. I never thought I'd get to fifty and be broke, but I can survive.

Anyway, here I am shredding those letters. They've all been paid. I don't have to be an ostrich. Tomorrow I'll throw away the shredded paper and another phase of my life will be gone.


  1. That post sounds all too familiar (except that I don't have to deal with the taxman, but I've got a few phone calls of my own I avoid). I too never thought I'd reach this age and still (barely) live from paycheck to paycheck but it is what it is and I guess it could (always) be worse still, so I just struggle on. I'm glad you were brave enough to ask for help and even happier that you found it.

    1. I was lucky enough to get help. Clare and Elizabeth saved my hide. Like you I could be in a much worse position, I know that. But I still have that WTF about being this age and worse off than I was in my twenties.