Debt is a topic shrouded in mystery and negativity. The fact is, most of us have some form of debt, whether it be a mortgage, student loans, credit card debt, or a car loan, so it is in our best interest to understand how debt works, and our rights when it comes to handling debt. Here are 5 common myths about debt and the truth about them.
Myth: Debt is only for “poor” people.
Truth: This could not be further from the truth. Debt is a “necessary evil” for most people, regardless of their income. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t carry some form of debt in today’s society. Another common misconception about debt is that all debt is bad. However, debt only truly becomes “bad” when you can no longer afford to make payments or when affording basic necessities becomes difficult. And the truth is, “bad debt” happens to people at all socioeconomic levels. So whether you have good debt or bad debt, remember that it can happen to anyone and that there is no shame in it!
Myth: You can go to jail if you don’t pay your debts.
Truth: While this was once the case, the U.S. outlawed debtors’ prisons back in the 1800s. If you fail to pay back a debt, the debtor can be sued and then a civil judgment can be obtained by the creditor or the one that sued the debtor. The debtor, in this case, is summoned to a civil court. Depending on the Court and the jurisdiction (where you were sued) there may be rules that require the debtor to appear in Court. The failure to appear could force a warrant to be issued for your appearance. At that point, the police can jail the debtor until there’s a court hearing, or until they pay the bond. This is not based on the fact that the debtor owes the money, but the fact that the debtor did not comply with Court rules. This is still rare, but cases do pop up here and there. Still, bottom line is it is illegal to throw you into jail for owing a debt! Don’t trust a creditor if they threaten to throw you in jail and be careful about how you handle the legal proceedings once your debts have reached that stage. To be safe, consult an attorney to find out the exact rules and procedures surrounding your debt.
Myth: Telling a debt collector to stop calling you will make them go away.
Truth: This is only partially true. You can tell a debt collector to not call you again at work and they have to comply. You can also request that they stop contacting you altogether, but in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, you must make the request in writing in order for them to be obligated to comply. It is important to note that just because a debt collector stops contacting you, it does not mean the debt has gone away. You are still responsible for paying that debt!
Myth: Paying a debt in collection will remove it from your report and raise your score.
Truth: When you pay a debt that is in collection, the debt collector is supposed to update your report to reflect the fact that that debt has been paid. However, the debt collector is not obligated to remove it from your credit report. A debt that has fallen into collection will generally stay on your report for 7 years, unless specifically agreed upon by the collector to remove it once it has been paid in full. And unfortunately, paying a collection account without getting it removed will not improve your credit score. As long as it is listed on your credit report as having been in collection status, it will have a negative impact on your score. It is also important to note that you should always check your credit reports with all 3 bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equifax) to ensure that the collector did, in fact, update your report to show that it has been paid.
It is also important to note that you should always check your credit reports with all 3 bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, Equinox).
Myth: Bankruptcy is the only way out of debt.
Truth: While bankruptcy is necessary in some cases, it should really only be looked at as a last resort. Often, there are other, much simpler ways of climbing out from underneath mountains of debt. It may be as simple as consulting with a financial advisor to rework your budget and come up with a debt repayment strategy, or you may decide to go one step further and consult with an attorney that specializes in debt resolution. Either way, be sure to research all your options before resorting to bankruptcy.
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.