Monday, 27 July 2015

When Credit is History

It's a strange thing becoming a stay at home mum. Even stranger when you can plot and spot the energetic changes that go along with it. I was SO finance focused. I was that person who went to University with savings (mine not my parents). I worked in C and A and McDonalds for 3.5 months 7 days a week combined sometimes doing the morning in the latter and the afternoon in the former. They were happy days, the hubby - then a boyfriend - would meet me after work.

I went to Uni with a couple of grand in the bank AND we still got grants back then. It was a given (not means tested) that tuition fees were paid, and thanks to my Step Dad's income not being taken into account I got a subsistence grant (for rent and food) too. Suffice to say I did not get a student loan until my final year (I can't remember why, as by then I had two part-time jobs). Anyway, within a year or so of completing Uni it was paid off.

Fast forward a few years and a gang of us from work were going to Magaluf. I didn't have spending money, so applied for a credit card. God forbid. It didn't come in time for the holiday, so I ran out of money a couple of days before I came home. THAT taught me a lesson as the people I had bought many rounds of drinks for spent what they had left on over the top souvenirs with little thought for me - one of my first lessons in life that some humans are inherently thoughtless and selfish.

Returning home to the lure of a credit card with a balance waiting to be exploited must have been a strong temptation after a few days of austerity - oh THAT word!!!!!

Fast forward and a credit card became that thing you used when you wanted to go to All Bar One for lunch, or when you wanted something new, close to pay day. Funny, but with my store cards I paid them off in full every month (due to a crazy high APR) but with my credit cards - there were more by this stage - I was happy to pay the minimum amount.

They were designed so that was how they expected you to use them.

Then along came the days when some companies offered 0% interest on balance transfers. I think I moved my debt so many times I exploited ALL of them, and shouted about it to anyone in my life who needed to too.

Necessities were never bought on credit cards and they were the way I cushioned the shackles of those early days of low salaries.

The country is built on people spending money they don't have. Or at least it was during that 1990s post recession boom. The one that turned out to be unsustainable. And I know about all the other elements of it too like housing equity withdrawal etc... thanks to a degree in Economics.

Fast forward to 2003 and I told the husband "I will not have a baby until I have cleared all of my debt". I was into yoga by then, quite close to being qualified as a Teacher (in addition to working full time) and clearly had a very clear awareness of my lower 3 chakras, and manifesting/creating a baby in that lower region of the body that is so linked to housing/shelter and security obviously made me wary of my financial situation. After all the first chakra relates to security, stability and being grounded. Often our sense of "security" is closely connected to our finances and our ability to provide. I not only had a day to day reason to want to be able to "provide" in material terms but also felt the heaviness of that responsibility energetically too. The chakra's strengths can be found in the state of our meridians also.

Let me share this extract from Change Your Energy with you which highlights the link between the first chakra (known as the ROOT chakra) and financial security:
Root Chakra represents our basic survival needs. This chakra serves as an energetic doorway to our earthly life and mother nature. Yes. Food, clothing and shelter are our most primal needs, but they all require money to have them. One of the ways chakras become blocked is from a deluge of limiting or negative beliefs entering our energy field. We are often unaware when this is happening. Like a cosmic plumbing system, we think we are pouring positive thinking into our system, only to wake up one day to have the whole emotional kitchen sink backing up in our face. 
If you are in a job that is not meeting your basic needs, if you are often frustrated, under financial stress or feel unsupported in your workplace and community, paying some attention to clearing your Root Chakra may help. 
More brief information in summary form is here, regarding the seven chakras and pregnancy: Balancing Chakras During Pregnancy.

In 2003 I had told the hubby I would clear my debts (loans and credit cards) within 5 years and there must be something about "putting it out there" as I did! Only trouble was, late 2007 we went to Nigeria for a burial and I had to take Malaria tablets which said on the packet you could not conceive within 3 months of taking them. 2008 I then got busy with my career and to be honest was a complete workaholic. Baby was put on the long finger and in reality WORK was my baby. I lost a year there and on purpose too as a Brahmin told me at the Yoga Festival Summer 2008, when he did my full Astrological Chart that if I didn't get pregnant before November that year, I would have to wait a full year. I returned to the UK knowing and believing that but consciously made the decision to wait. 

Except, April 2009, I remember it being Good Friday, I was looking at candle holders and saw a radiant pregnant woman in Ikea and had an epiphany that I wanted the same. 

The Brahmin was correct of course and it took till September 2009 for me to conceive. I was a glowing pregnant lady in Summer 2010 somehow taking working long hours in my stride. I don't remember being stressed at all. The rest is history, or at least blogging history ha ha.

The job didn't stop being my baby when I had one either. I worked hard, too hard, until 38 weeks pregnant. They joy of Management Consultants being brought in. Then I ended up working throughout my maternity leave (as I never handed over my BlackBerry and they called me in to let go of my maternity cover *le sigh*). 

But oh the irony. That job that I had made my baby then made me redundant in 2012. Being HR Manager I was there till the bitter end, literally turning the lights off on the way out and it did me no favours. Whatsoever.

The first thing I did was cancel all of my direct debits and credit cards, thanking the Lord for the umpteenth time that I no longer had any credit card debt.

Since then, I guess by and large I have fallen off the financial radar. God only knows what my credit score is, as I don't have any credit.

Financial security was always of paramount importance to me. I can't remember my Mum or Step Dad giving me a penny during Uni. I was and always have been fiercely independent yet now I am happy to be a stay at home Mum. That must have taken a HUGE energetic shift in me, but I have been unaware of it happening as it has been so so gradual. Also, I see it mirrored in other people in my life and in the media, and I know I am part of a cultural shift that is going on globally, where finance is no longer our only priority or focus. Previously I would earn the money and think "how shall I spend it?". Now I think "how shall I spend my time?" and manifest a way to pay for it, which thanks to blogging, doesn't always require money.

There was a time though when I was all caught up in worrying about credit scores.

I was at work, really late one night and lost my monthly travelcard (Londoner). I only realised when I got to the train station so assumed I had lost it on the street. It had a little piece of paper in the sleeve that would be a field day for someone wanting to access my finances. So the next morning I panicked and spent a long time talking to the bank. They set up texts on my phone AND not only got me a full credit score printout, which is like a huge A4 booklet (very interesting by the way) but they also got me credit score alerts, so I could see day by day if something changed.

Weeks later when we were organising a deep clean at work, I found my travelcard trapped behind a desk. Not mine, but the one I had been sitting at late that night.

Your credit score is a reflection of your past and present. That of you and your partner's AND reflects those who are or have lived at your address. If you are about to do anything financial, with your business or property, I really suggest an extensive study of your credit score. You can use Experian CreditExpert credit score. There was nothing alarming in mine but it was a bit of a financial biography. It would be strangely blank now though, now that I have "fallen off the wagon" as it were, financially, which brings me full circle back to the heading off this blog post.

Have you ever checked yours and been glad that you have?

Mrs MoneyPenny has written several blog posts for Experian and gives a great example here as to why you should check your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage. After all why let the bank tell you bad news that you could have found out beforehand. As they say, fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.

If you are thinking/worrying about your finances before starting a family, take a look at Family Finances on the NCT website.

Disclosure: All words, photos and opinions are my own.

4 comments:

  1. Great post. Credit cards are lethal and I really do think that they need to up the age to get them. I got into so much debt because it was available to me at the age of 18 when I was young and stupid, I wanted clothes, girls holidays and nights out, that bit of plastic got me them!
    I'm now debt free (unless you count a mortgage!) and it is such a huge relief.

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  2. I just puled my report with Experian verr recenty and it is so interetsing but it does seem to be missing stuff, not that I should worry as the overall rating was excellent. Mich x

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  3. I don't have a credt card - only a debt card. However I recently went into my mortgage bank to see what's what and was pleasantly surpirsed to see that the majority of my mortgage only has 6 1/2 years to run. And there are parts of it I could pay off early in order to reduce the whole thing further - I just have to find a a way to earn that extra money. You are so right that whilst most of ti is about not overspending, a big part of it is being informed.

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    1. LOL, a debit card, not a debt card. :)

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