It was just a casual Sunday afternoon BBQ in the backyard with our neighbours and friends from my school days. Gloria and I went to primary and high school together and have stayed close friends for at least 20 years. Her husband Steven had left his job with the government about 6 years ago to start his own business. I think it was a drop shipping warehouse or something like that. Gloria worked in the enterprise as well. They had a son and a daughter who were almost the same age as our two, so they shared a lot of interests with music and movies as well as school subjects.
My partner had prepared and cooked an excellent meal of roasted spuds and pumpkin to go with the sausages and steaks so we were sitting at the table with our neighbours, Sue and Brian, just chatting about anything and everything. I had planned some cheese, crackers, olives and gherkins for after the meal, but at the moment we were full. Everybody had a nice glass of white Sauvignon Blanc that I had kept for a special occasion.
As usual talk gets around to work and kids and school and the government and the taxes and home improvements and recipes. All pretty typical really. Either Gloria was a little depressed or she’d had a glass too many of wine but during the discussion about work she started crying. Steven was a bit embarrassed but after repeatedly asking whether there was anything we could do and what was the matter, Steve finally told us that their small business was in a bad way and they were looking at bankruptcy.
Wow! They had a lovely home and car and two kids in private school. How could that be? Well with Amazon and Shopify and Ali Express all opening their own shipping companies, the amount of business coming their way had dropped dramatically. They had two part-time workers but the cash flow was so low that they had to put them off. Mortgage repayments, credit cards, school fees and the car payments, not to mention electricity, gas and food bills were all mounting up. What were the alternatives for them but to sell the house and take the kids out of school, sell a car and tighten their belts?
Brian, our neighbour, said, “Nonsense!” He is a financial adviser for a banking group and started to explain to Steve and Gloria about a trust deed being an option they should consider and how to go about applying. First, they had to sit down and work out the exact commitments compared to the income. Then, go and see a financial advisor (like Brian) and get a better idea of the choices open to them in their current situation. “It always looks far worse than it actually is,” were his words. After a very lengthy chat about it all, Gloria and Steve brightened up and agreed they would do something positive rather than agonise over their situation. We opened another bottle of wine!