Financial Embarrassment

When I first started work at an MNC, I was constantly cajoled by banks' financial consultants on the streets asking me to sign up for credit cards. Since I was earning $3750 per month, I did not see it as a problem paying back the bills, so I signed up with:
  • HSBC
  • Citibank
  • Standard Chartered
  • UOB
  • DBS Cashline
I was a spendthrift, buying lots of goods and services with my credit cards, and each month I would accumulate more and more debt until I hit the credit card limit (usually $8000 to $9000). The reality is that money easy come, money easy go.

Initially I managed my cards monthly payments by using one card to pay for another card's bill. But as I continued doing so, the interests and total owed amount continued to grow and soon I was in debt of around $30000+. I tried to hide it from my family by changing my bills to electronic statements sent to my email.

Eventually, as a Chinese saying goes, "paper cannot wrap fire", my family found out about my indebtedness and at the same time I also lost my job in the MNC due to the Lehmann Brothers recession. I was in big trouble because I also couldn't find a job, made worse if I had to declare my financial embarrassment.

In the end I had no choice but to seek my family for help. My retiree parents said that they have no money to lend me, I was in deep sh1t. My maternal aunt who was not obliged to help me, she sympathised with my mother and took up the credit card bills and went about helping me to pay the $30000. She also borrowed a few grand from my maternal cousin because she also did not have that much cash. I am really ashamed of myself for getting myself in such a troublesome situation and affected my entire extended family. Eventually the entire debt was settled by my aunt and cousin and I cut away all my credit cards and terminated the DBS cashline.

Since I was already unemployed, I tried my best to find a job to repay their debts of gratitude, but I happened to also end up being diagnosed with clinical depression and all the employers turned me away.

For the past decade, I have been unable to secure proper full time employment and was a complete flop. All my friends left me and all my colleagues saw me as if seeing a ghost in the seventh month.

I was suicidal, the police stopped me, they sent me to IMH for treatment, and when I came out, IMH tried to help me secure a simple income through their OCTAVE employability programme. During the period from 2015 to 2019, I went for a kosong policy, i.e. I kept my wallet as empty as possible and I lived on a monthly allowance of $200 for food and transport. I was able to survive on this amount during my time as a student and I decided that I will not get married also and since no employers wanted to hire me due to my mental condition, I became a good for nothing getting by with minimal allowance from my family.

In summary, credit cards to me are dangerous if used incorrectly. It doesn't mean you should stop using credit cards, what I mean is that I am not savvy when it comes to handling money and so I got myself into trouble. I am actually cajoling readers to be more savvy and tactful when using credit cards so that you don't get yourself in the same fix as I did, I am a negative demonstration and I do not wish to see others walk down the same lonely path as I did.

If it weren't for my aunt and cousin who helped me pay off my debts, I would be dead by now, literally. I am grateful to them for everything they did to save me during my lowest point in life. Even though my parents did not help me financially, they also did their best to care for me, and for this I am very thankful too.

Once again in one sentence: use credit cards with care, they are useful but also dangerous.


Popular Posts