Yes, we all know and heard about the importance of taking personal responsibility, and doing the right thing, and all that goody-two-shoes stuff. That's all fine. I'm sure that the vast majority of people don't default on their debts just for fun. I'm sure that most people try to do best they can to pay their bills. People, in general, want to do the right thing.
But we need to realize that given the horrendous disparity of income distribution between the top one percent, and an increasingly impoverished middle class, it is only natural that people are going to end up taken on more and more debt. This then puts people in a bind as they try to keep up just to cover the basic necessities, and their debt.
So if you find yourself in a situation where you have exhausted all your options and are unable to pay your credit card debts, mortgage, car, or whatever, before you start thinking about possibly harming yourself under the weight of the stress, just turn off the phone!
At least you didn't do it on purpose. You didn't go about pillaging and looting the entire country under the protection of a government on the take, as the parasites of Wall Street did.
The first thing you need to do, right away, is to stop talking to the thuggish bill collectors. I'm talking about stopping cold-turkey. Never, every again talk to them. Don't ever listen to their voice mail either.
Once you calm down a bit, find out if there is any potential criminal liability in your city or state, as it relate to debt. Nowadays these thuggish corporatist cartels have been pushing cities to enact onerous laws that are essentially bringing back the concept of debtors' prisons. So find out what the deal is on that respect.
A great resource for those who are struggling with unmanageable debt is the STRIKE DEBT! initiative.
As individuals, families, and communities, most of us are drowning in debt to Wall Street for the basic things we need to live, like housing, education, and health care. Even those of us who do not have personal debt are affected by predatory lending. Our essential public services are cut because our cities and towns are held hostage by the same big banks that have been bailed out by our government in recent years.One great resource they have is the Debt Resistors' Manual (in PDF).
We are not a loan. Strike Debt came from a coalition of Occupy groups looking to build popular resistance to all forms of debt imposed on us by the banks. Debt keeps us isolated, ashamed, and afraid. We are building a movement to challenge this system while creating alternatives and supporting each other. We want an economy where our debts are to our friends, families, and communities — and not to the 1%.
This manual—written by an anonymous collective of resistors, defaulters, and allies from Strike Debt and Occupy Wall Street—aims to provide specific tactics for understanding and fighting against the debt system. You'll find detailed strategies and resources for dealing with credit card, medical, student, housing and municipal debt, tactics for navigating the pitfalls of personal bankruptcy, and information to help protect yourself from predatory lenders. Recognizing that individually we can only do so much to resist the system of debt, the manual also introduces ideas for those who have made the decision to take collective action.If you have to meet some requirement to avoid criminal liability (in those rare cases), then find out what are the minimum requirements. For example, in some cases you could write a letter to the creditors and tell them that you can only afford to pay $5.00 a month, and that could protect you.
Either way, and getting back to the bill collectors.... The first thing: turn your cell phone or home phone ringer off, but make sure to set up a system for your immediate family and friends to contact you. It could be a new non-listed, strictly private phone number, or by texting.
If it's your home, car, boat, or your life and sanity, let that material stuff go (after you've exhausted all your options in good faith).
Focus on the essentials... A roof over your head, food, and clothing; that's all you need. Try to keep your sanity and peace of mind; you'll need it for your comeback, once you're ready.
You are not alone.
Ray Pensador | Email List | Twitter | Facebook | Social Justice National Ad Campaign