Friday, 18 January 2008


It’s that time of year again when credit card bills drop through the letterbox and remind you of your pre-Christmas excesses. Limits on cards can easily exceed £10,000 and with many households having more than one card, it’s easy for debt to spiral out of control. It’s even worse when only one of the couple knows about the level of debt and far too often it is that scenario that can act as the trigger for separation and divorce.

My friend Constance called to see me again this evening. She’s hiding a guilty secret from her latest boyfriend, Toby Mug. He must be besotted because when they went out shopping together in December he foolishly opened a new credit card facility and authorised Constance as a user of the account. Sadly his trust could cost him dearly, although I do hope that I have persuaded her to act honourably, own up and offer to pay back.

There are two kinds of cashless people in our society:

  • Those who can use credit cards properly and don’t need cash

  • Those who can’t handle plastic and never have any cash either.

Constance is one of those who can’t and if she’s to have any chance of building and keeping a successful relationship she needs to adopt strategies for keeping her spending under control. For the time being I’ve stood over her as she’s sliced the offending card in two and extracted a promise that she’ll make a full confession before either Toby receives his monthly account or she enters a world of subterfuge and tries to hide it from him.

There’s still a chance that their relationship will hold and so long as the debt is containable, she may be able to clear it with a personal loan or a further mortgage advance at a lower rate of interest. Of course, I suppose Mr Mug might be prepared to overlook the whole matter. Indeed if I understand Constance correctly she’s of the mind to bring their relationship to an end and leave him with the debt (for which he alone is legally responsible) if he can’t see the funny side and appreciate her for what she is! After all she apparently treated him to an exotic break at a luxury hotel last weekend, using his credit card facility, of course. Honestly, I give up but I shall keep you updated.

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