Loss, panic, shame: one widow's long road to 'strategic default'
Stella is a widow. The sudden death of her husband Tommy last year, turned her world, and that of her four children, upside down. The family's standard of living plummeted, and most of the money problems she has had since then, are bound up with having to pay a draconian mortgage.
She will be 54 next birthday – the same age as Tommy was when he passed away without warning. She knows some life-changing financial decisions cannot be put off much longer.
Her husband was self-employed – many of his waking hours devoted to building up his small manufacturing business. It had some very solid years providing a good living for the family. But when the downturn came it was hit hard. She knew that Tommy tried everything to hold the line, but as the company's order book became ever thinner, the profits morphed into big-time losses.