By 2009 it was clear that I was headed for difficult times. A missed payment here, a late payment there, and interest rates that soared from 4.7 or even 11.2 to 28-29%. I lived off my credit cards so that whatever money I did make could go towards paying my home equity and SBA loan monthly payments.
But in reality, I wasn’t even able to do that. I was using the SBA money to pay the SBA loan…it was cannibalistic and I knew eventually that all the money would be eaten up by the monthly payments and credit card debt.
The cruise business was barely dog paddling in the water. It was more like a ship in a raging storm overwhelmed by swells then popping back to the surface for a moment only to be swallowed again by the waves.
Worse than that, my passion for the industry was at low tide.
And still my ego would not let me even contemplate bankruptcy. Nor would my sense of ethics–I just didn’t understand how anyone could run up debt with a promise to pay and then walk away from that responsibility.
My parents instilled in me a strong sense of integrity. One of the reasons I fought the idea of bankruptcy for two years was because I couldn’t get past the idea that I would be reneging on my promise to pay. I took out loans and used my credit cards in good faith. It just felt contrary to everything I believed in, and against my sense of integrity. It felt wrong and I felt guilty.
Plus I felt like a failure. Like I let my parents down. I would have to give up my condo that I had previously paid off with the money my mom left me when she passed (my father has passed in 1987). This was the most difficult part — knowing I would lose something that was so attached to me. It also was the loss of my future security that my mom was so adamant about, especially since I am not married and have no children of my own. But I had used it as collateral for my SBA loan and home equity line of credit and there was no other way I could ever pay it off.”
I was sick from indecision. I was stuck in the mud of failure and I was fighting against the only way out.
Next: The breakthrough