ADHD Debt - Millennial Learning to Change Relationship with Money

Hi people,

I was speaking to a friend about how we each first got into credit card debt and it came to my attention that I wasn't the only one who was 'convinced' into getting a credit card that spiralled into years of stress, grief and many creditors hanging over my head.

I remember going in to pay off my overdraft in Natwest, I'd been a customer with the bank since I was 16, so I'd imagine they could see my earnings and spending habits/ forecast. I remember being sat in one of the rooms in the bank with the bank manager and what I presumed was me just going in to decrease my overdraft limit with the intention of paying it off until I didn't have one anymore (terrible spending habits since I was a student). I remember listening to her unwarranted spiel about the difference between a borrower and a debtor and then being told I was a borrower and 'vulnerable' after being sold a credit card by being convinced there were benefits to having one.

It was very soon later that I'd maxed the credit card out, didn't really know about interest rates as I'd never dealt with them before and low and behold was offered a loan to cover the maxed out credit card.

I now had a credit card debt and a loan debt.

 A job loss and no safety net or savings later soon rapidly spiralled into a 10k debt with Natwest and several other creditors, that followed by being hounded by Natwest, no idea of what to do next and eventually defaults with most creditors.

I was diagnosed with ADHD in December 2022. It made sense to me as to why I made such dismal financial mistakes.

I wanted to ask if anyone had a similar experience and if anyone has triumphed over offering a smaller lump sum to get rid of the debt hanging over their head?

I've spent years still paying these debts off pound by pound, learning about finance and have made a small pot of savings that I'm adamant on not touching and growing (so far so good). I just signed up to the MSE'S Academy of Money course with the Open University, I'm so glad this has been made part of schools curriculums now.

Someone please give me a success story, I'm still feeling down about it all and the cost of living crisis in the UK.

Thank you.


  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,271
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    All that credit on offer was so tempting wasn't it.  Add the attempts at snowballing, 0% deals and boom!  £60k!!!  I've been chipping away at it, moving to new 0% deals to avoid paying interest and should have it cleared by next September.  Only take me, what? 15 years?!!!  Also cleared the mortgage in that time as well so quite pleased with myself.  Some of it's been good luck - made redundant at a crucial time with a big payout just when I needed it so that's lovely.  

    Have you talked to NatWest at any point about how you were mis-sold the credit card?  They may decide that they should review the interest you have been charged which would help you get closer to your goal.  

    You could also post a statement of accounts here (check the top sticky) in case people can advise any fixes to your budget.  Sometimes things that are obvious to one person are a complete revelation to someone else.  The cost of living crisis is only a crisis if you do nothing about it and don't ask for help - which it sounds like you are doing!!!

    Best of luck with your continuing to debt freedom.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • sourcrates
    sourcrates Posts: 28,526
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 7:03PM
    They don`t teach you about how to deal with money at school, which always seemed a bit silly to me, however you are not alone in this.

    Your story is not an uncommon one, a banks number one priority is to make profit for it`s shareholders, they may waffle on about other rubbish, but the truth is, they want you to be in debt at 18, they want you to max out your cards, your overdraft, then they can sell you loans, next it will be a mortgage, its called "having a customer for life".

    When I was 18, a while back now, Barclaycard amongst others, would send out "pre-approved" credit card applications in the post, you signed and returned it, then they sent you a shiny new Barclaycard, with a 6k credit limit, never asked about your income, expenditure etc, they were giving them out like sweets.

    At the time I was earning £25 quid a week, on a YOP scheme, so you can imagine how quickly this all went Pete tong can`t you, but there train of thought bore fruit, for the next 20 years I was a slave to various cards/loans/store cards etc, must of spent ten`s of £1000`s on them.

    Long story short, ended up about £157,000 in the hole, it took a massive kick up the backside, and two insolvencies to get me debt free, I`m mid 50`s now, no debt, paid for house, live within my means, that means no credit whatsoever, took me a while to learn my lesson, but I don`t play the credit game any longer.
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free wannabe, Credit file and ratings, and Bankruptcy and living with it boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing [email protected]. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.For free non-judgemental debt advice, contact either Stepchange, National Debtline, or CitizensAdviceBureaux.Link to SOA Calculator- The "provit letter" is here-
  • RAS
    RAS Posts: 32,459
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    edited 27 December 2023 at 11:41PM
    I actually failed a job interview in my 20's, working in programming for one of those then "new fangled" store cards.
    The interviewer asked me if I had a store card?
    Would I be getting one? 
    Was there a reason for that?
    I worked on the basis that if someone wanted to "give" me money to spend, it was because they would profit (more than from a normal purchase) from my spending. I'd rather my money was earning interest than theirs.

    In real life, I was struggling week to week to balance my budget over a couple of months and the salary for that job would have have been more than twice as much as I was earning temping in related jobs.

    My spends then were calculated on the back of an envelope, literally, but occasionally I'd accumulated enough to buy something nice even if needed.

    I was tempted eventually to sign up for a card when I bought a much desired item, and only used it once more to get money off a planned spend. Then I got one mainstream card which proved to be a nightmare, because they didn't record returns as quickly as purchases. That went as soon as possible.
    The person who has not made a mistake, has made nothing
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