This is not an advert like the hundreds of ads out there promising to get you free of debt but rather my true life event before and after 2008.
We had our own company pre 2008 and were living a life of luxury, three motor vehicles in the garage, a large house with a bond of R1.600 000 and things were going well. Friends were plenty and parties and braai’s virtually every weekend. When I look back now I see that our lives were driven by money and possessions. At the same time we had debt … plenty of debt! But this wasn’t a problem as we could cover all our installments with a smile.
The first incident happened in 2007 which gave us a bit of a knock, we received an order for numerous PC operating system packages to a value of over R100 000, cant remember the exact amount. I personally collected the packages from the supplier and delivered them to an address in Houghten which seemed totally legitimate and received a bank drawn cheque from the client as arranged. Later the same afternoon we received another order from the same client for laptops and other bits and pieces with the same payment arrangements, orders were placed. The following morning our bank informed us that the cheque we paid in was a forgery and no such account existed, what a complete shock!!
I immediately contacted the client and his words to me – “You lucky you didn’t deliver the next order or I would have caught you twice”, needless to say the cell number ceased to exist. Together with the police I went to the premises that the packages were delivered to and it turned out to be a hair salon that was closed on the day that the delivery was made, these crooks managed to open the side door and conduct their business.
The supplier of the packages had to be paid back and we took the loss, wasn’t easy.
The next incident that wiped us out came a few weeks after. We made a verbal contract with someone I trusted to do work for their company. Spares were purchased and people employed and things ran smoothly for a few months. I then received news that the company wouldn’t be using us any longer and things just went downhill from there. We had to pay over R350 000 for the acquired spares and the employee’s salaries.
Trying to survive
The months that followed we as a family were just trying to keep our heads above water but failed. We tried various options and took out bank loans which increased the companies and our personal debt. Banks and debt collectors started calling and demanding money owed to them, it was a nightmare of note! We eventually didn’t know which way to turn or what to do any longer.
Finding help to cope with the debt
We approached lawyers and debt companies but at the time there were no real solutions to our problem until we made contact with a lawyer from Middelburg that suggested we had a meeting with him. My Dad and myself went through to Middelburg to see what he suggested. The lawyer, which I believe was sent by a higher power, looked at our situation and financials and suggested we liquidate our company and sequestrate ourselves. Now the problem is, all this costs money to do, R45000.00 to be exact. The lawyer, seeing our problem of not having the money, suggested that we pay him off over a couple of months which was a gesture that I would be forever grateful for. After countless sleepless nights and discussions with the family we decided to go ahead with all the proceedings.
What a scary and unsure time it was for us all. I was sequestrated in July 2008 and the company liquidated. Our vehicles were taken and we had to vacate our house that I had stayed in my whole life (I purchased the house from my parents some years before). Through all these difficult times and uncertainty the lawyer kept in touch and even visited us to give advice and encouragement.
Life after sequestration
Today my wife, youngest son and myself stay in a small rented flat in Farrarmere and drive an old VW Polo that I recently purchased, we don’t have much and to be honest, don’t need much. I also discovered that having all those possessions and money was slowly killing me as you always live in constant stress to keep things running and ensure that money always comes in.
Obviously we still need money to live but its only a small percentage of what was needed previously and being a technical guy I am able to do work to keep us going.
The funny thing is, all the friends and certain family members that we had prior to 2008 have all disappeared, makes one think what they were after and this is not unique to us, seems to happen to lots of people that I have spoken to that have been in similar circumstances. Good riddance to them all!!
My message to everyone battling to keep the ship afloat is get help, it is out there! drop the expensive possessions if you cant afford them any longer, life carries on without them and to be honest … a simpler life is a much happier life.
I know everyone’s situation is different and pray and hope that everyone that is battling can find a solution like we did.