How To Turn Bankrupt Greece Around And Put It On A Path To Prosperity… by Jamie McIntyre
How To Turn Bankrupt Greece Around And Put It On A Path To Prosperity… And How The Same Solutions Turned My Life From Almost Bankrupt To Self-Made Millionaire by Jamie McIntyre
Turning my own finances around from bankrupt to self-made millionaire in my twenties gave me invaluable insight into what it takes to create financial miracles.
And Greece, it would seem, needs a financial miracle…
…Or basic common sense and to make some hard decisions.
Because individual finances are not that dissimilar to that of countries. The basic principles still apply.
• Spend less than you earn
• Only go into good debt, not bad debt
• Live within your means
• Boost your incomes and diversify
• And so on
They need to be creative, not fearful. Take back control and take massive action.
Here’s what I’d do if I were in charge of solving Greece’s financial problems and rescuing it from bankruptcy:
First I’d stop living in fear of the worst-case scenario. Accept it and move on. Because anything above worst-case is a bonus.
Take charge. Tell its lenders, “Sorry. We can’t pay you right now.”
That’s what I did when I was facing bankruptcy 17 years ago.
I told my creditors, “If you ring and harass me one more time, I’m going to put you on the bottom of my list.
And don’t threaten to bankrupt me ever again. Don’t talk about it, go ahead and do it.
I’m not going to be intimidated, coerced, or harassed about money any more.
If you want to bankrupt me, make my day.
The fact is I can’t repay you right now. But I’m a man of my word and I will repay you when I can.
I’m currently working out a debt reduction plan. I’ll even send you a copy. And in the short term, I can pay you about 5% of the repayments I’m obligated to.
If you want to bankrupt me, that’s not my decision.
Whether you like it or not, my debt problems are no longer mine…they’re yours.
And if I don’t turn this around, you’re not going to get a cent.
So whether you like it or not we’re partners now, and this is how it’s going to be: I’ll pay you minimal amounts now, and I’m going to work on a plan to generate and boost my income so I can fund my debt.”
The key point is: I took back control.
I no longer lived in fear.
I was assertive, direct, and I toughened up and basically told my creditors how it was.
And I wasn’t interested in whether they liked it or not.
I wasn’t asking for their permission or for them to agree with my plan.
I told them how it would be from now on and what the plan was, regardless of how they felt. They could go ahead and bankrupt me; I didn’t care.
Because I’d already accepted the worst-case scenario: I accepted I could deal with bankruptcy.
It wasn’t the end of the world.
It took courage, but if you want to become a millionaire you need it.
If you want to be in control of your life you need to dictate the terms.
That’s what leadership is.
Speaking the truth and telling it how it is whether others like it or not
As a result I took back control. Started rebuilding my income and eventually paid off my debt.
I kept my word and never went bankrupt.
I was then able to go back to creditors and say, “I have X dollars spare right now and I’m contacting my list of creditors offering 40 cents on the dollar. Whoever takes it can have the money I have spare right now.
Do you want me to send you a cheque for 40 cents on the dollar now for full and final settlement?
Or would you like me to send the cheque to someone else on my long list of creditors? Unfortunately that drops you to the bottom of the list.”
So I negotiated reduced settlements. Once again by clearly telling them how it was, their options, and not caring whether they liked it or not.
Because I was unattached to the outcome.
And that’s the major key to being successful at anything. Focus on what you can control and let go of what you can’t.
I didn’t control my creditors actions; I controlled mine (like my offers and creativity.
And guess what?
Nearly all of my creditors gladly took the discounted settlement offer.
I even received letters of thanks from some creditors, effectively saying, “When you said you would repay us one day, I didn’t believe it. But you stuck to your word and bit by bit you paid it back.”
It restored faith in many creditors that some people are actually honourable and will stick by their word, when they could easily walk.
For me, I was just behaving the way I was raised: a country farm boy, raised in a small community where you’re expected to stick by your word and do the honourable thing.
Otherwise, as kids growing up, if you did something wrong someone would speak to your grandparents or parents.
It was natural, social accountability because you didn’t want to bring your family’s reputation into disrepute.
So what should Greece do?
The same thing.
Tell its lenders (Euro and IMF and bond holders), “Sorry. We’re going to take an interest holiday.
We can’t afford the interest bill on our debt right now.
I know you may not like it but go ahead and bankrupt us if you want; or even kick us out of the Euro.
However, that will become your problem, not ours.
We already accept the worst-case scenario and can live with it.
We’re now partners whether you like it or not.
Our return to prosperity is in your interest as much as it’s in ours.
Either way, we can’t meet our debt repayments right now and need breathing space.
Here’s our plan and what we’re going to do:
We need to stimulate our economy. And we ask for help with this; assistance to help expand the Greek economy because if we can’t, we all lose and you’ll never get a cent of your money back.
In fact if we stopped paying interest repayments we would only be running a 1% deficit this year (this is true for those who know facts of the Greek economy right now). Which isn’t bad considering we’re in a depression.
With more moderate budget cuts in areas of wastage we could free ourselves from the need for external budget funding.
And if we can focus on stimulating growth, we could quickly turn to surplus –especially because a lot of the painful work of austerity cuts have been done or are in progress.
As we stimulate growth (ideally with your assistance) and grow the Greek economy we can build surpluses and down the track be in a fiscal position to begin repaying our debt.”
You see when you accept the worst-case scenario you come from a position of strength to negotiate.
When you don’t care what others (like lenders) do, you’re in a strong position to negotiate.
And ironically Greece is.
When facing bankruptcy as I was: It was no longer my problem. It was my lenders problem.
It’s the same for Greece.
Their debt problems are no longer their problems. They’re the Euro’s problem.
And they can’t afford to let Greece completely implode or kick them out of the Euro.
So from that position there’s only one solution…
Cutting wastage to get the budget deficit reduced whilst focusing on stimulating the economy by being creative, asking for help, and redirecting government monies (saved from cut-backs of government wastage) to growing the economy.
The same thing I had to do, to go from almost bankrupt to a self-made millionaire and grow multiple incomes in my twenties.
It’s common sense and quite simplistic.
Is it easy?
Is their any other choice?
Is it the only option?
It simply takes courage, leadership, and massive action.
There is work to be done.
Are you in control of your finances, or are they controlling you?
CEO of 21st Century Education
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