Crying at the shops

17 May


I cried at the shops today, twice. I’m mortified.

I know why I cried at the shops today. I don’t cry often. The more I tried to stop myself the louder the sobs. The first time was just outside of Target and then Gloria Jeans was witness to my pathetic tears.

I cried at the shops today because today, my husband came out of bankruptcy. Life can return to normal (or as normal as it can be being married to an extreme-entrepreneur!).

We lost everything when property values fell at the start of the Global Financial Crisis. Since then we have been living a sort of half-life. We’ve been doing okay. We both have jobs. The kids are unaware of our financial struggles. We rent, pay our bills, pay a huge percentage of our earnings to a trustee and hope the three years of punishment for being stupid enough to try to achieve our dreams is enough of a penance.

President Obama said it best – he wants to live in an America where hard work leads people to achieve their dreams. I want the same but in Australia. I want to work hard and build a dream life. I want to achieve everything.

It’s just that hard work isn’t all that is involved in reaching for the stars. It’s about nurturing relationships, looking out for dramatic market swings, saving for a rainy day and taking measured risks.

We saw the crisis coming. Many did. What we didn’t see was the extent of the damage and while we knew we’d suffer a bit we didn’t expect it to hit so hard. It was difficult to watch businesses being bailed out by government when smaller businesses like ours that had taken investor funds and employed people were left to fail.

It’s over now. As of today it is behind us. The black and white letter confirming our discharge date didn’t do justice to the relief we feel.

My husband is horrified that I am crying today when he is practically skipping. But I didn’t cry when we lost our home, I didn’t cry when they repossessed a car from our driveway, I didn’t cry when our working capital was confiscated by the bank we owed money to and I didn’t cry when we had to put the birth of my second-born on a credit card.

So I’m crying today and according to my friends my emails and text messages have been a little on the emotional side. One replied asking if I was terminally ill. No, not ill, just relieved to have emerged from financial ruin relatively unscathed!

La Dolce Vita – Jo Abi

One Response to “Crying at the shops”

  1. Dan Marz May 19, 2012 at 1:07 am #

    Jo I truly feel for you and understand how you must be feeling. I came very close to falling in the same hole last year. I was flying high just a few years ago, with a double income and no kids. My video production business was cruising along nicely and according to many I was doing really well. I had a home on the lower north shore and 3 investment properties. Then the perfect storm happen. The business slowed down, there was a baby on the way, my wife stopped working for more than a year and the GFC affected lending and more. Things got so tight that in the past year I have had to sell two properties and for those think I made money think again. All I did was lowered my debt level and got some of my hard earned deposit back, minus all the costs. The proprty markets have gone nowhere in years. If I didn’t sell, the banks would have repossessed and I would have gone bust. Now The business is even slower and I am much poorer but at least I have a beautiful 2 year old who is the best thing that has ever happen. As for the future? Who knows. All I know is that I have worked and saved hard to be in the place I am and it is a struggle to hold onto what I have, I just watch the banks getting richer and greedier. For anyone who thinksI am doing well, you are welcome to take my debts. I somehow have to come up with more than $9,000 every month for the various mortgages and my combined income is about $7,000 plus another $3,000 from dodgy tenants who pay the rent when they feel like it. I often feel that working hard for my future is just not fair, but I have a beautiful family and an uncertain future thanks to a failed government and greedy banks.


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