updated 2 Mar 2014, 09:11
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Tue, Feb 18, 2014
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Secret squanderers: "I was going mad"
by Maureen Koh

Says Michelle: "You can't expect me to dress my children in some ordinary brands when I am in a Ferragamo dress and carrying a Gucci bag, right?"

And nothing, she says, can take the thrill out of walking into a luxe brand store and coming out with shopping bags.

While she admits that her marketing communications job does not require her to be decked in luxury, she enjoys the attention she gets.

"I think that our company's clients have more confidence in a well-dressed executive," she insists.

But her squandering ways have taken a toll on her financial and mental well-being, she confesses.

And she remains "very, very scared" that her husband will eventually find out that she was made a bankrupt in 2012.

They co-own an executive HDB flat in the west, but live in a private apartment that is under her husband's and his brother's names.

They used to rent out the flat, but she has since stopped the lease.

She says: "Luckily, my registered address for everything was the HDB flat, where the creditors came knocking."

It helps too that her husband is away on business trips most of the year and is home only a week every two to three months.

"I think the roughest patch was when I was going through the bankruptcy stage. I had to pretend to be happy and that all was well when I was actually very scared," Michelle says.

She still remembers "how bad it was" when the banks started to hound her for payment.

"First, it was phone calls and reminders sent in the mail. Luckily I had the letter box key and so I could intercept the letters of demand.

"I'd try to make the minimum payment required, but the interest just kept mounting," says Michelle.

Finally, a writ of seizure and sale was issued. Several assets in the home were seized and auctioned off.

She recounts: "You don't know how hard it was for me to keep a straight face and go on as if everything was normal in front of my husband and my children.

"I'd go back to the HDB flat and sit on the floor and cry my heart out before going home and acting the doting wife and mother.

"I was going mad."


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