(While I’m away visiting a lovely friend, I’m reposting some content from my archives. This one was originally published on March 30, 2010).
The other day a reader suggested Debtors Anonymous. I know she was just trying to be helpful but my 1st thought was “Ugh. Really? You ain’t talking to me right!?”
She said that she thought it might help me with what I’m trying to do and that actually some of what I’m trying to do is inline with what they try to help people do.
Since I’m on this Spending Fast “journey” this year I decided to consider that there might be something to this suggestion. On their site there are the signs of a compulsive debtor and then 15 questions to ask yourself if you think you might have an issue.
Below are the questions and answers that are posed on their site and even though I don’t have a problem based on their questions I might actually hit up a meeting to see what it’s all about. I mean after the Spending Fast year is up I will have to find a way to be a responsible spender rather than just say, “Nope. No. None for me!”
Signs of Compulsive Debting:
1. Being unclear about your financial situation. Not knowing account balances, monthly expenses, loan interest rates, fees, fines, or contractual obligations. Yeah, before the Spending Fast not sure about certain fees and fines and rates
2. Frequently “borrowing” items such as books, pens, or small amounts of money from friends and others, and failing to return them. Nope
3. Poor saving habits. Not planning for taxes, retirement or other not-recurring but predictable items, and then feeling surprised when they come due; a “live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow” attitude.” Yes, poor saving habits
4. Compulsive shopping: Being unable to pass up a “good deal”; making impulsive purchases; leaving price tags on clothes so they can be returned; not using items you’ve purchased. Yes, impulsive shopper (before the fast)
5. Difficulty in meeting basic financial or personal obligations, and/or an inordinate sense of accomplishment when such obligations are met. No, able to meet basic obligations
6. A different feeling when buying things on credit than when paying cash, a feeling of being in the club, of being accepted, of being grown up. No
7. Living in chaos and drama around money: Using one credit card to pay another; bouncing checks; always having a financial crisis to contend with. Chaos, yes. Drama, no.
8. A tendency to live on the edge: Living paycheck to paycheck; taking risks with health and car insurance coverage; writing checks hoping money will appear to cover them. Yes paycheck to paycheck (before the Spending Fast). No on the others.
9. Unwarranted inhibition and embarrassment in what should be a normal discussion of money. No
10. Overworking or under earning: Working extra hours to earn money to pay creditors; using time inefficiently; taking jobs below your skill and education level. Yes, probably overworking and under earning
11. An unwillingness to care for and value yourself: Living in self-imposed deprivation; denying your basic needs in order to pay your creditors. No
12. A feeling or hope that someone will take care of you if necessary, so that you won’t really get into serious financial trouble, that there will always be someone you can turn to. Yes, this is true for me
Most compulsive debtors will answer “yes” to at least eight of the following 15 questions.
1. Are your debts making your home life unhappy? Yes… trickle effect I guess
2. Does the pressure of your debts distract you from your daily work? No
3. Are your debts affecting your reputation? No
4. Do your debts cause you to think less of yourself? Yes
5. Have you ever given false information in order to obtain credit? No
6. Have you ever made unrealistic promises to your creditors? No
7. Does the pressure of your debts make you careless of the welfare of your family? No, well maybe because there is insufficient (meaning none) savings
8. Do you ever fear that your employer, family or friends will learn the extent of your total indebtedness? No
9. When faced with a difficult financial situation, does the prospect of borrowing give you an inordinate feeling of relief? No
10. Does the pressure of your debts cause you to have difficulty sleeping? No
11. Has the pressure of your debts ever caused you to consider getting drunk? No
12. Have you ever borrowed money without giving adequate consideration to the rate of interest you are required to pay? Yes
13. Do you usually expect a negative response when you are subject to a credit investigation? No
14. Have you ever developed a strict regimen for paying off your debts, only to break it under pressure? Yes
15. Do you justify your debts by telling yourself that you are superior to the “other” people, and when you get your “break” you’ll be out of debt overnight? No
So 4 out of 15