Thursday, May 10, 2012

Step Three

Let's keep this one short and sweet. My feelings about bankruptcy were explained earlier. However...

I started contacting creditors to make amends. I informed them that I was working. I currently make less than  $30,000 base. It's awful. But it's a start. I wanted part of that income to go toward resolving my debts. However, firms like Saldutti, LLC and Pressler & Pressler wanted no part of negotiations. I wasn't looking to reduce the amounts owed, I was just asking for a longer timetable to pay my debts.

They offered no compromise or allowances. They wanted their money. Period. They sued and won. (who could afford a lawyer?) These particular bloodsuckers were ruthless in their pursuits of my money, with Saldutti being the more awful of the two. They sent a Sheriff to my home to try and access my and my family's personal belongings. I wasn't home at the moment the Sheriff showed, and my kids were frightened out of their skin. My oldest asked them to come back when I returned home, which turned out to be a good move. We were allowed, legally, to refuse them entry. I find it hard to believe that any respectable company would want to take my kids' things in order to to satisfy a debt. My daughter's dolls? My son's tv? This is what the evil Saldutti wanted to take.

I now know why people hate lawyers.

But I figure the only way to beat these so-called "attorneys at law" is hire a real attorney at law and avail myself of the protection of the bankruptcy laws. Instead of getting the money from me the best way I could pay, they'll get nothing. My son's TV? Really?

I hope there is an especially warm place in Hell for the likes of Mr Saldutti and his band of leeches. And I hope there's another couple of hotseats for Mssrs. Pressler and Pressler.

More later

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Step Two

Years ago, I was a Business Law student in a class that studied US Bankruptcy laws. I remember thinking that this was something to be avoided, that this was the "easy way out."

My own financial situation had gotten this close to bankruptcy, and every bone in my body felt that filing was nearly an immoral act. I had promised every creditor that they would begin to receive payments from me as soon as I was employed. I always believed there was a major difference between someone who is unwilling to pay and someone who is unable to pay. I thought I would be doing the honorable thing by making every effort to repay what I owed the best way possible. There were days where I literally did not have a dime to my name and I had three kids to feed. So naturally, I had to choose not to make payments on my accounts. But I always assured them that money would be forthcoming.

Bankruptcy was a most undesirable option to me. I thought my word and my honor would be enough. None of the companies I owe money to would be closing their doors due to a default by me, but I was raised to fulfill my obligations. I was forced to sign up for Medicaid and food stamps after my Unemployment Insurance ran out. Nothing like dire need to squash pride and get you over yourself.

But I worked at it. I applied for every position I was even remotely qualified for. I filed probably in excess of 1500 job applications. I remember subscribing to and I remember forking over $600 to TheLadders for a "resume overhaul." I had 30 years experience. I had Securities Licenses, I had my Life Insurance License in 3 States. Didn't matter. Nothing happened. My resumes went unnoticed. The worst part of applying for work in this country is the silence. They don't tell you "yes" or "no", they say nothing. But I did finally manage to speak to two recruiters. They both told me my resume was awful and that it was probably not even being read by humans.

I went back to square one. I laughed when I got an offer from TheLadders to "review" my resume some months later. They wanted more money to revamp the resume they'd written for me in the first place.

Needless to say, that didn't happen. I sat down and wrote my own simple, one-page resume. I applied to Sears Holdings for a holiday sales position. I got hired with my own version of the resume, not the Ladders version. I got the sales job at Sears for the holidays.

I worked well enough to get hired into a permanent position. But Sears only paid $6 per hour. (not a typo). I was trying to feed, clothe and house my kids on $6 per hour. (this was supplemented by "commissions" on sales, typically 1% of the sales I made. If you didn't make enough commission, they bumped you up to minimum wage, incidentally) That was not a fit, obviously.

I got hired by my current employer in September, 2011. At a lot more than $6 per hour. I'm still considered "low income", but my foot is in the door and the potential is there for raises and promotions. I have health insurance now. When I was an independent financial consultant, I was paying $2200 per month to Blue Cross/Blue Shield for Major Medical. Now I pay $50 per week.

And I began contacting my creditors immediately. I wanted to start making good on my obligations. And that's when things got dark again.

More to come.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Step One

Well, it's been quite a while since I posted to this blog. And with good reason!

I battled it out for a long time. I was struggling in the Financial Services industry for a few years. I picked a great time to try and market life insurance, IRA's, etc. People in this Country have often been face with the decision: life insurance vs. food. Guess what wins?

Well, I figured it was high time to accept things for what they were, and reinvent. I took a long, hard look at what I was qualified to do. I also thought about what it is that I like to do, and if there were a way to get work elsewhere.

It's no secret that I love all things food. In September, 2011, I found a match. I'm working for a food company that's quite prominent in my area. I'm doing something I love as much as, if not more than, my former Wall Street career. Wall Street, in my eyes, is no longer the prestigious, honorable industry it once was. The sub-prime lending debacle led to the massive bailouts, which led to more mismanagement, and more of the same. It's disgusting what this generation did to Wall Street. I saw it coming years ago when I realized that the only qualification necessary to work for a brokerage firm was a birth certificate. No more need for an impressive resume when patronage jobs were plentiful. I saw this practice put some very unqualified people into some very important positions. This led to shortcuts and fast-buck artists, and as Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch can attest, this led to a massive industry failure. So the time was right for me to give up all hope of securing a respectable position with any of the surviving firms.

Now I work for a company whose sole mission is to make people smile, happy, full and healthy. I get to offer great foods, menus, tips and tricks to my customers. And I get to learn about great new ways to cook, eat and be merry!

And let's face it: people will always need to eat, right?

Now I make about 1/10th what I made at Merrill Lynch. But after guys like Stan O'Neal and John Thain were done with Merrill, there was nothing left. Bank of America took Merrill Lynch over and helped it narrowly avoid the fate of Lehman Bros. and Bear Stearns. They were a disgrace to the industry and I sort of feel lucky to no longer be attached to Merrill, particularly now that it is a part of Bank of America. (we all have a pretty good idea how honorable that company is, right?)

My new career holds a lot of hope and promise. I grabbed onto the bottom rung of the ladder at my new company, but I'm happy announce that I've already pulled myself up one rung.

More to come. Soon.

Love to hear your thoughts...