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Stomper Anomymous has been trapped in a vicious cycle of borrowing from and repaying licensed moneylenders, and hopes to caution people who might be in similar situations from entering the same nightmare.
The 31-year-old borrowed $10,000 in total from two moneylenders ($5,000 each) in 2016 -- but still owes the same amount even after over two years and sees no hope of breaking out from the cycle.
Anonymous said that besides a 4% monthly interest rate, the two moneylenders he took a loan from also impose a 10% admin fee each time a sum is borrowed.
This makes repaying his loan all the more impossible despite him drawing a salary of $5,000, especially since partial repayments and installments are not allowed.
Here's what would happen each time, according to Anonymous:
Use salary to repay the first moneylender
Reloan from the first moneylender to repay second moneylender
Reloan from second moneylender to pay for expenses
Repeat the cycle next month
Anonymous, who works in sales and marketing, told Stomp that he has three children and a 28-year-old wife -- but no savings.
Here is his story:
"I am writing in hopes of warning youths to think twice before turning to licensed moneylenders.
"This started in 2016 when my wife was going through a tough pregnancy. We were in and out of KK Women's and Children's Hospital like it was a hotel to us."
According to the Stomper, his wife had a complicated pregnancy as she was expecting twins, which led to "a lot of unseen medical bills popping up here and there."
The couple are both employed, but Anonymous said his wife has to take care of her own family too.
"Even though we could use Medisave at first, we did not have substantial money in our Medisave accounts and soon needed to use cash to foot the medical bills," added Anonymous.
"Without much thought and because we couldn't obtain a loan from the bank either, I turned to licensed moneylenders because of the quick loans that they could offer.
"Trust me -- I have been to more than 50 licensed moneylenders and they all operate the same way. There's not one that is different. This, I can use my head to guarantee.
"First, they will always offer you a loan that is one times your monthly salary. Tjhen they will all say the same thing: 'Oh, it's your first time borrowing, we can't offer you a monthly installment loan until a few times of repayment and reloaning from us.'
"However, I can guarantee that this is bullshit. You will never get a installment loan to ease your payment pains.
"Secondly, with my stupidity, I actually believed the moneylenders.
"So every month, I would take my salary of $5,000 and withdraw the whole sum to pay them back. And then I would take a loan of $4,500 (because of the 10% admin fee and the 4% interest).
"Months and even years have gone by, and I'm still trapped in this cycle!
"Well, you guys must be thinking: 'Why not just pay back and not loan anymore? Or just negotiate an installment plan with them?'
"Erm, that is easy to say.
"Firstly, the moneylenders will threaten to go to your office. Not even your house. They won't bother to go to your house because they know you won't be afraid.
"So your office is the next best option to shame you. And if you are lucky, your boss will understand. Otherwise, you lose your job."
However, Anonymous said he has never faced harassment as he is always on time with payments.
He told Stomp: "You won't want to risk your job. If you dare to pay just the partial sum, straightaway they will call and tell you that they will send debt collectors up.
"Secondly, after paying back the money to the moneylenders, you will be left with nothing. If you can't put your ego aside and seek help from your family members, you are as good as dead.
"Having said that, I even had one moneylender telling me to go and borrow from another moneylender to pay them back, claiming that they are just doing business.
"The luckiest thing about me is I'm still sensible enough to have only two moneylenders even though I mentioned that I went to 50 moneylenders.
"That was just to shop around, hoping that someone could offer me an installment loan so as to pay back the two moneylenders. But trust me, none of them will offer this.
"Every month, my wife and I need to make sure that we get hold of our salary to pay them back, and then reloan from them as we have no savings.
"Then only can we start paying our expenses. As such, we can't save up any money for rainy days too.
"The lesson to be taken away, folks: Never never never go to a moneylender. Once you enter a cycle like mine, no matter how much you are earning, you will never get out of it. Trust me. "
Asked if he thinks he can ever escape this cycle, Stomper Anonymous shared: "Honestly, if they don't give me an installment loan, I will not be able to.
"I have three kids to support. We are not living lavishly but our monthly household expenses already add up to almost $4,500.
"I even thought of doing part-time work like driving Grab or something, but that would cost me too. I have to convert my insurance and all that... all this is money."
The Stomper, who hopes to "reduce to one moneylender" after getting his work bonus in May, added: "My life has become a living hell ever since I turned to these moneylenders.
"I hope that this article will be circulated for the sake of the young and innocent youths out there."