Debt and Depression

There's no denying that debt is debilitating and has ruined one too many lives, but the effect of debt on a person's psyche was once again brought to the spotlight with the recent news of the suicide/ murder of the Hsieh family.

The news outlets say that the family's business went bankrupt and with their mounting debts with loan sharks and the knowledge that under Taiwanese law their children will inherit their debt, the parents deemed it best to just kill their children and themselves.

I've heard people ranting about how death was not the only solution that they could have pared down their belongings and sent their children to less expensive schools in order to pay their debts down. And those are very valid solutions, but the thing is, you don't really think rationally when crippling debt gets a hold of you and drags you down into deep depression.

There are many, many success stories of people who beat their debts down to a pulp, but for every success story, there are also tragic scenes of whole families wasted because depression has mixed in with desperation over the mounting bills to be paid.

I grieve for the Hsieh couple who saw death as their only alternative, but I grieve more over their children who had their whole lives ahead of them. As a mother, it breaks my heart to think that another mother saw death as the only way out for her own children. It should never come to that.

I've talked about how my husband and I were deep in debt when we got married, but after the momentary chill of realizing just how much in the red we really were, we made the necessary adjustments and sought help when needed to pay off all our credit card debts (the second worst type of debt, next to loan sharks). There were moments at the beginning when I felt I couldn't breathe because of the enormity of our debt, but I sucked it up, asked for help from family members and paid off every single centavo in about a year's time.

It also helped that I started reading personal finance blogs and started this blog, so I saw that I wasn't the only one struggling with debt, that there was a way to get out of it and even achieve financial independence. With this blog, I found like minded souls and got inspired over and over again with other people's personal journeys and how they triumphed against debt. There was no time to get depressed because I was busy chasing the light of financial freedom, fueled on by sheer tenacity and inspired with the thought of a debt free life.

If you or someone you know is deep in debt, please don't let it get to the point where you see suicide as the only option. It isn't. There are many, many ways to manage debt and I will gladly help you out. Let's talk about it and then let's make a concrete plan to give your debt the middle finger. My email is and I'm ready to help.


edelweiza said…
I can't agree more. Death is not the solution. It's just sad that depression made things worse for this family. We've all been buried in debts at one point in our life. But it's true we could eliminate debts if we really want to. A drastic lifestyle change is on top of the best options. Like you, I also get inspired by the people behind personal finance blogs who have risen up from neck-deep debts and are now in the process of achieving financial freedom. It's not easy but it can be done. We should never ever give up.

P.S. Wow, Jill, bait mo naman. Pag need ko ng serious financial advice, I will email you ha. TIA! :)
Isabel said…
Very timely. I have just confronted a relative who is neck deep in debt and used me as an escape goat, saying I owe her money/ her money is with me as an excuse for not being able to pay her own debt. Nakakalungkot but I did not take it against her. I understand people in that situation talaga is medyo hindi na rin nakakapag-isip ng derecho. So instead of awayin, I just invited them over to talk about their situation and find a way to solve it.
What is sad is that we have that culture of nurturing debt. Like yung pag-utang is the easiest way out. Uutang somewhere to pay the utang somewhere else. Pinapaikot lang. I believe kasi the best way to beat debt is to not add to it. Mahirap I know, I've been through it. But I've just removed all emotions associated with the situation. Like when there was a time we didn't have money for Christmas, so be it. Walang handa. Matulog tayo. But that's not to say I just sulked and didn't do anything about it. That's how my catering sideline came to be. Christmas is a workday in the Middle East so people didn't have time to cook. I cooked for them. By 8pm all food delivered, we were able to earn enough to buy food for our own Noche Buena, for the kids' sake. What I'm just trying to say is, with our without doesn't make any difference to me, but hindi ako magdagdag ng utang para lang may panghanda ako sa pasko.
I guess what I am just trying to say is, debt and finance is a mathematical question, let's avoid mixing emotions to it kung gusto talaga natin to find a solution. Nakakagulo kasi yung self pity, which leads to depression. Lagi natin isipin, tomorrow is another day. It could be a day of struggles or blessings, but it's another day nonetheless.
Rae said…
I was saddened when I read about this in Rappler. And I agree, the comments are valid. But when you're deep in both debt and depression, it's almost impossible to think clearly.

PS. Reading personal finance blogs help me a lot. It keeps me from shopping. I read at least one PF blog post a day as a constant reminder.
Jillsabs said…
Any time Edel. I will gladly help you out :)
Jillsabs said…
I agree completely. Every new day is another chance to make your life better, to make yourself better and to come out ahead.

Best of luck on your catering business! It seems very promising.
Jillsabs said…
Hay naku, do you know that because of your posts on the Bobbi Brown creamy matte lipstick I'm now angling for a tube myself?! Enabler ka talaga Rae!:p

Although I'll only buy when I finish up a tube of lipstick, since I still have 4-5 now, and when I become qualified to receive a bonus in my new job (about August-September), whichever comes first.
Ako din naconvince ni Rae sa Bobbi Brown lipstick. haha. Si Rae ang salarin. hahaha...
Anna said…
Grabe their story noh, my heart breaks when I think of the kids. I feel so relieved - I may not have insurance, or even major savings, but I don't have debt - I don't even use a credit card. Scary!

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