Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Debt Trap

As I have mentioned previously my current role is only fixed term so I now need to start looking for a new job. I had an interview yesterday. I thought it went really well but I didn't get the role. In hindsight it was probably for the best. The role was perhaps a little beyond my experience and I think would have been very stressful. 

I have a very stressful career. I need to change profession. Yesterday after receiving the rejection, my mind became rather preoccupied in what I am going to do in the future and how things need to change. 

The problem is though is that my debt traps me. I am trapped to my debt and trapped to my desk. 

There is a particular field I would like to go into. I would be self-employed and I would certainly need to take a pay cut. On the face of it a pay cut is fine - long term I could cope earning less than I do now. The problem I have now though is that because of my debt I need to find at least £180 a month to pay my minimum repayments on my credit cards plus rent and food etc. 

If I had been sensible with my money I would not have any debt and I would have savings. Savings that I could use to live on while I retrain and build up a business. Instead my debt traps me in a career that I do not love. 

Yesterday evening I was seriously contemplating adding the fees for a course I want to do on my credit card, all £1,500 of it. I sat their weighing up the pros and cons. The sensible side of me knows that I should stay in the career I have because of the earning potential and realistically, on my current salary, I should be able to clear my debt in less than 2 years. However, the other side of me is thinking - I can't be in this career for another 2 years!!!!

Quite honestly, at this stage, I don't know what I am going to do. Part of me thinks adding £1,500 to my debt would make me happier but I know it is a crazy thing to do as this idea of mine could go spectacularly wrong and besides I really can't stand being in debt and increasing my debt would make me equally miserable. 

For now, I need to spend the next few weeks researching new opportunities for work whether in my current career or otherwise and continue paying down my debt. 

Do you feel trapped by your debt? How do you plan to become 

This is part of Financially Savvy Saturdays - remember to check it out!

*Image courtesy of 


  1. I'm not sure if you're single or not, but have you considered some of the more extreme ways to pay down debt? I agree - it totally feels like being trapped. So I just looked at it like a sentence to be served and signed up to work on cruise ships till I got rid of it. You have no living expenses and can just funnel each paycheck into paying off your debt. Then once it's gone, you can do what you want.

    1. No I have a partner so cruise ship type arrangment isn't suitable for me. On the other hand I know my partner would pay for our living expenses if I wanted to retrain and couldn't afford things but that doesn't quite sit well with me. I was single for a LONG time and am use to looking after myself. Cruise ship does sound fun though!

  2. Debt can make you feel like you are trapped. When I had large debts and wasn't really enjoying my job. I also felt trapped. Once we paid of our debt and I didn't "have to" work. Work was a lot more enjoyable. Anyway, I have no advice. Just wishing you the very best!

    1. Thanks any way. I know this is a decision for me to make - i just needed to rant!

  3. I don't have an easy answer for you -- it's a tough challenge for sure. I've had the "I hate this and want out" job before and can relate to how overwhelming it can feel. On the other side of the equation, two years can go surprisingly fast if you can distract yourself during. Whatever you decide, let this moment of feeling trapped burn into your memory -- it can be a pivotal moment in your life that keeps you from ever falling into debt again.

    Best of luck with whatever you choose.

  4. Victoria, although I'm in a different stage in life, I'm theoretically in the same boat. You see, if Iet myself, I would say I hate my job and it's too stressful, but I don't. I want to retire now. I have a grandson and a big long to do list. Counter that with a job can be stressful and not rewarding and you see where I'm going. But I am trapped by our debt, like you. The most important thing is to get out of debt as quickly as possible and that's what we're trying to do but it will still take us another 3.5 years to get there and we've been at this for 2.5 years.

    How do I cope?
    (1) I know it will end eventually (like you, you know you can change careers eventually). I take the stresses of my job in stride.
    (2) I prioritize, do the best I can and if someone decides it's not good enough then so be it. I'll cross that bridge when I get there and no doubt there'll be a nice severance package for me too if it comes to that. They can't fault me on my throughput, I work hard, there's just too much work and they're not able/willing to get more people at the moment.
    (3) I focus on the aspects of my job that I do enjoy i.e. it's not all bad. and remind myself of the good aspects
    (4) I remind myself that even though I have not had an increase for a few years, I am making a good salary and that's exactly what we need to slay our debt.
    (5) I try not to take the job home with me by working too much unpaid overtime. If I do need to work O/T for a deadline, I try to take off time in lieu at a later date but not bank too much ahead so that I end up losing it. (i.e. if I have a planned day off, I will ask/tell my boss that since I worked x hours on y weeks, I will be taking the day off in lieu. This way I save my real holiday days for Christmas period etc. when things are slower and I can definitely take them off).
    (6) I take breaks and don't work myself silly while I am working so that my stress level increases and I can't see the forest for the trees.
    (7) I remind myself there could be worse things
    (8) I look at my debt repayment progress and pat myself on the back for this.
    (9) I remind myself that I am strong and can do 3.5 years still. The last year will be a piece of cake and I've already done 2.5 years so go for 2.5 more and we'll be home free!

    How long have you been paying off your debt for? Does any of this help you out?
    Do you mind if I turn this into a post? ha ha ;-)

    1. Not sure I can add more then what Debs has. Think of it in terms of short term sacrifice for the long term gain. Adding more to you debt today might not be the best idea, if you can just hang in there until you are able to pay down more debt or find another job hat might be the best thing to do.

    2. Brian and Debs i know you're right. Just having a miserable time at work which has just got a whole lot worse today!!

      Debs - I started paying off debt in January 14. Yes, turn it into a post but link back!! :-)

  5. The smart money always suggests NOT giving up your day job till the debt is paid off, or until you have sufficient side-hustle income to cover your expenses and an emergency fund to cover you in case you need a couple of months' breathing space: sure it's more pain and hard work, but you need to be sure you're on top and giving up a guaranteed income (no matter how much you hate your boss) is a big gamble. Only you know your situation though, so if you can't hack it in the office, maybe it's best to leave. On the other hand, toughing it out till you achieve debt-free status would be an amazing achievement and (I imagine) would feel fantastic. Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

    1. Thanks Myles. I am still comtemplating this one!

  6. What Debs said! :-)

    The next solicitor's job is just a means to an end, namely the end of your debts - that's your goal.

    Two years may seem like an eternity but as someone's already mentioned , it can also go fast if you can switch your focus, eg focus on small wins, achievements, such as paying down your debt.

    You are young so after the two years (and being debt free), you'll have plenty of choices and opportunities.

    Good luck!

    1. Hi Weenie! 2 years just seems like ages, I am considering looking for a career where legal skills are required but not as a solicitor.