It Isn’t Just About the Money….my bankruptcy story

Denial. That’s how it started.

No, I’m okay…it’ll work itself out…I’ll be fine. No worries.

Truth is, I was plenty worried, but the idea of bankruptcy was so foreign to me…no not foreign, appalling…no worse than that…it was beneath me, that I wouldn’t even give it a second thought. My ego had decided my fate.

The credit card and loan debt mounted. What had seemed like a good idea just two years earlier started to spiral me downward.

Without boring you with all the details, let me give you a quick “how did I get here?” synopsis.  In 2003 I was 43 and on top of the world. I had a good paying job, a high-profile position in the business community, my house was paid off and other than my car, I really had no major debt. I paid most of my credit bills in full when they came in.

My fortunate situation was due, in part, to an unfortunate event….the money was left to me when my mom passed in 2002. She drilled in my head that I had to have stability and security. She made sure that she left me, and my brother, with the ability to enjoy life. My father had passed back in 1987, just after they had both retired. They never got to share the “good life” for which they both worked so hard.

So I paid off the mortgage on my condo in Cherry Hill, stashed some in my checking account, and put the rest away in stocks and mutual funds for my future. And I took vacations, went out a lot, and underwrote a new CD for a local Philly Blues band I loved, the Dukes of Destiny. I was single and I did what I wanted to do. I was in a good place.

During a vacation in Mexico in 2004, I realized I wasn’t as happy as I thought. Daydreaming on a beach can do that to you….fill you with thoughts of “what ifs.” The job, while fulfilling in many ways, was never going to provide future advancement. I needed space. I needed to be on my own again (I had owned a career placement firm for marketing and public relations professionals from 1999-2001).

So I came back from Mexico and said adios to my job. Except they wouldn’t accept my resignation. I was an important member of the team….and in the end I stayed.

By summer of 2005 with two more beach vacations behind me, I was done. I needed to be someone else.  Many of my friends suggested that since I love to travel, why not go in the travel business.

In October of 2005, after much due-diligence regarding the industry and possible companies,  I bought a CruiseOne franchise.

Look for “Keep Afloat”, the next in this series about bankruptcy.

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4 Responses to It Isn’t Just About the Money….my bankruptcy story

  1. pia lou says:

    marilyn, your story was really the final break for me me – out of the darkness of guilt and humiliation and back to a sense of personal power.
    i found my equilibrium and balance in order to live in creation mode instead of the reaction mode. most importantly i learned that what other people think of me is none of my business. it has brought me great peace of mind.

    happy new year to you!

  2. Marilyn,
    Thank you for sharing your personal life story. This takes a lot of courage, but in the end it shows us that we are not alone when it comes to our financial woes. You are so inspirational and have touched many peoples lives in a positive way. I’m looking forward to reading more. Congrats on your new blog! 🙂

  3. Teresa says:

    Wow… can I relate to this! Looking forward to reading more!

  4. Ellen says:

    Hi Marilyn,
    Been there done that!! Your story brings back many memories of my situation with my husband about 8 years ago. We owned a franchise (first mistake). All your emotions, reasoning were the same as ours. Same situation, Marc had a fantastic job didn’t want to work for anyone else, wanted his own business so we opened an ice cream franchise. Took all the money that was left to him from his mom and our savings and put it all out there, just to find out a few years later that we lost everything!! I can sympathize and have experienced all that you have gone through. The only thing I can tell you is that once the creditors are off your back it becomes much less stressful. There are so many people out here that I believe have lived through the same situations. I’m glad you’re sharing it with others. This will help you emotionally and will hopefully allow other’s to recognize that they are not the only ones dealing with dreams that have turned to nightmares. If you believe every dark cloud has a silver lining than this experience will eventually be a learning tool for your future endeavors. Keep writing!!

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