Thanks so much for Asking CALM about this - it sounds really tough. The good news is you’ve made the first step in speaking about what you’re facing. Sometimes that’s the hardest part - if we don’t get what we’re worried about out of our heads it can feel impossible and overwhelming.
We’re really sorry to hear your business has not gone to plan - but it’s important to remember that everyone fails. While you might not see it on people’s Instagram feeds or hear about it down the pub, even the most successful people have had shit hit the fan. In fact, 39% of adults (20.3 million) don’t feel confident managing their money, with 25 million adults in the UK now in debt or concerned about falling into debt.
There’s no shame in having money worries or not succeeding. And it doesn’t mean you are a failure or define who you are.
The fact you have tried says more, it shows creativity, strength and braveness. All things that can be taken forward into whatever you do next. Don’t forget that.
It sounds like you’re successful in loads of other places in your life - having children and a partner who you care about. It sounds like you’ve been carrying the weight of this all alone, and that’s bloody tough. Talking honestly, like you have done here, is the first step to getting control of this. If your partner was in a similar situation, you’d want them to ask you for help - the earlier the better.
It’s easy to say talk to someone, but how do you go about doing it? It can feel a bit much. Here’s a few tips on having a difficult conversation:
Talking will help. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, sharing what you’re facing will make a difference - even if it doesn’t solve your problem. The sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be able to find support and stop anything spiralling.
Choose a time and place. Find a quiet time and place, away from distractions like busy family life, to properly chat. Make sure you’re in a comfortable and private space where both of you can be open and honest.
Write it down. If you can’t get the words out, write them out first. It’ll get what you’re worried about out of your head.
Decide what you want from the conversation. Do you want help finding a solution or for someone to listen to what you’re struggling with?
Once you’ve chatted to your wife, there’s lots of help out there. Work together on a solution and be realistic about what’s possible and what isn’t. Sharing the responsibility and breaking the problem down into smaller tasks can make a real difference and stop things feeling so scary.
There’s lots of professional help out there for debt and money worries. You can find out more about those here - National Debtline and PayPlan are great places to start. Money Advice Trust has a dedicated business debtline and lots of other stuff to help here.
We hope this helps Matt. While things might feel overwhelming right now, there is always a way forward. You’re not alone in what you’re facing, and if you need to talk CALM’s helpline and webchat are there from 5pm to midnight every day.
Ask CALM is written by CALM's services team. We’re not taking question submissions right now, but keep an eye on social media for updates.