Spotted on STOMP:
How 27-year-old S’pore woman lands herself in $100k debt
A real estate agent was just 27 years old when she found herself mired in debts amounting to nearly $100,000. Now 31, she blames it on leading a lifestyle that she could not afford and does not want her friends to know about her debt.
According to an article in The New Paper, in 2007, at the age of 25, Ms Tan took on her first serious job as a real estate agent, smack dab in the middle of the property boom. The money rolled in — and so did the desire to live well.
Ms Tan’s first big ticket item was a car, a Nissan Cefiro. She paid about $70,000. Then came the splurges on designer clothes and bags, and dining at exclusive restaurants. She says she easily spent $10,000 a month on just entertainment. That also meant she had little savings. And when the property market crashed last year, she had nothing for the rainy days ahead.
Ms Tan says: “Most months, I couldn’t sell a single apartment – my income was practically zero. I knew I had to cut down on my spending, but I wasn’t willing to.” She confesses that her number one priority was to continue portraying the image that she was still well-off. “I was obsessed with my image. I wanted to show my friends that I was still doing well.
In mid-2009, she observed that despite the property slump, some of the other agents, including a good friend, still seemed to be doing well. Envious, she approached that friend who claimed that he was “dabbling in investment”. Says Ms Tan: “He asked me if I wanted in and of course I did. He promised me at least 20 per cent in returns.”
She claims that she invested $30,000 in the scheme, which had no specific name, but it involved “investing money in one company and then taking the returns to invest in another company”. By the time she found out she had been conned, he had run off with her money and that of the others who fell into the same trap. Ms Tan says she didn’t file a police report because she was embarrassed and wanted to forget the whole thing.
Plus she had more pressing worries like the four credit cards she had taken up to accommodate her extravagant lifestyle. She fell into her next debt trap: She started to place bets on illegal online football websites, thinking that gambling was the only way to recover her money. Unable to pay off her gambling debts, operators of the betting sites started to harass Ms Tan by showing up at her parents’ home in Yishun.
This severely affected her relationship with them, which later led to a violent altercation. Her parents took out a personal protection order against her, their only child. Ms Tan moved in with a friend for about six months, during which time she spiralled into depression, cutting herself and facing suicidal thoughts.
Before she had a chance to recover from her debts, she fell pregnant. To add to her woes, her then-boyfriend did not want anything to do with the baby. She finally came to her senses in 2011 after her father died. She regrets that she did not manage to reconcile with him before his death, but she has since moved back to live with her mother.
Ms Tan began her road to recovery by approaching Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) which helped with bank negotiations so that she could pay off her credit card debts of $40,000 in five years without worrying about the inflated interest rates.
Ms Tan, who now earns about $15,000 a month, took two years to pay off her debts, with the final installment cleared last month. She says: “I felt so relieved when I paid off the debt. It’s a huge burden lifted off my shoulders and now I can take care of my daughter without any worries.”
Credits: STOMP Singapore
Rather wordy, but I think it’s a really good read(: