Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Life is like a box of chocolates.

Bear and I were chatting about the so-called Age Of Austerity - hence the wartime poster in the post below. Luckily, mainly because I'm a bit good in the finance department, we've noticed the pinch a bit, but ye small gods willing, it's not hit us as hard as some I've spoken to.

/Rant mode on

Quick grumble. Why the heck do unemployed people have bank accounts, and, god forbid, overdrafts or even credit cards? Sheer lunacy. In the uk, they are entitled to a Post Office Account, not to be confused with a bank account. Their benefits - and nothing else - are paid into it. There are no overdrafts and associated charges, interest charges, ATM charges or any other fees. Mind you, there are no loans or credit facilities. Uk Gov pays it in and they withdraw the balance as required. Effectively, ring-fenced. No more Bank charges.

Yet every bloomin' time I suggest it, the unemployed I speak to baulk at the idea of no credit, even though it's costing them in charges from an already meagre income. They'll ask me to help sort out fuel or rent or mortgage or phone bills - but as someone said to me a couple days ago "How are you supposed to get what you want without credit, are you some kind of idiot?".. S'cuse me? Crazy, crazy.

/Rant mode off

Edit 03/03/2011

Perhaps I should note where I'm coming from. I'm not a Debt Councillor, but I am pretty good with facts and figures. For many years Bear and I were members of the Free Churches, finally with the Jesus Army where I was a minor leader.

The JA are a wonderful community, working across the whole gamut of society, and despite their high profile image,
quietly. It is however, a 24/7 church. After my first stroke, I gently, and deliberately faded away. I was unable to maintain my commitment to them. How they put up with me, a totally non-religious, but not unspiritual person, I'll never know. There, I learned to care. I also learned how to deal with the 'the system', deal with pig-headed social workers.

( Grin!)

Banks, building societies, adoption agencies, the police, pimps, gangzters, politicians and prime misters.

I still have many mates there.

But most of all, I learned to love.

Bless you for reading.


Josie said...

I know where you're coming from but you can't always blame people, why because in 1997 me and hubby were both unemployed, so what did
T(hick) S(tupid) B(ank) bank do, they gave us a credit card each! duh! 5 thou balance on one and 3 thou balance on the other and then to pay them off gave us a loan!!!

idiot? then that makes two of us, been without credit for over four years now. best thing that ever happened, wish we'd done it years ago,recommend it to anyone :-)

Josie x

Wheelie said...

To be fair Josie, it certainly is rough when someone has worked, developed a credit history within their means, then bang, they lose their job.

I was an 'Enquiry Agent' (Wheelie P.I!)for a while, and the bread-and-butter of the business was debt collection. I hated that bit. In fact, I was rubbish at it.

I was supposed to lever money out of people who simply couldn't afford it. I ended up spending most of my time working out a way they could afford something - and back then there was no profit in that...

I guess I'm just annoyed that nowadays I'm coming across far too many unemployed that see credit as an extension of their benefit - and I know darn well that once I've worked something out for them, they'll default on their payments and ask me for help again.

Had some classics recently.

Someone on Jobseekers on around £140 a month, with rent arears, with a Sky account of £76 a month, who asked me to guarantor them for a £3000 loan.'For decorating'

Someone else, unemployed above their head in over £1500 in rent arrears and facing eviction, on 'key' meters for gas and leccy, who was given a £300 credit limit credit card. Which they spent in three days.

Another, in a similar situation, who wanted help to obtain one of the latest phones on contract - apparently Citizens Advice are a waste of space.....!

And don't get me onto loan sharks.

That's just this week. You'd think I was a Debt Advisor wouldn't you?

Nope. Just me.

Josie said...

CAB - all they do is advise you to go bankrupt, erm, you're in debt that's why you've gone to them in the first place, where do they think you're going to £600 each from to go bankrupt???

then there is debt relief orders which is cheaper option to bankruptcy but your pension, which you can't claim till your 65 is classed as income so you can't do the debt relief order either, just stupid!!

Josie x