25 January marks Burns Night, when in Scotland we celebrate the life and work of Robert Burns, usually with Haggis, Neaps and Tatties and with a dram of Whisky.
But beyond the Selkirk Grace, there’s a sadder side to the life of one of Scotland’s most famous sons that we don’t hear much about.
Problem debt can happen to anyone. Rabbie Burns died owing debt.
His income was £100 per year. His overall indebtedness was £110 per year. He had amassed unaffordable debts in a bid to promote his work and then tragically fell ill meaning that he couldn’t work on his farm and was unable to pay off his creditors as a result.
In today’s terms, this means that his income was £7,676 per annum and his debt total was £8,443 per annum, owing to 6 creditors according to Dr Clark McGinn who researched this while writing a book on the poet.
Find out more about the poetry of Rabbie Burns on the Poetry Foundation.
Why Was Rabbie Burns In Debt?
Sadly, if Robert Burns dreamed of life after debt, this dream would never be realised.
In fact, it was written that even on his death bed, he had to borrow money from family friends to pay off a tailor who had been harassing him over payment of a military uniform.
Like many great artists like him, his work was never fully recognised while he was still alive and therefore never received his royalties.
Rabbie Burn’s story is not unlike that of many people in Scotland today, where a loss of income due to a period of sickness results in an insurmountable debt total.
Indeed, many of the 25,000 people that Trust Deed Scotland have given advice to over the years had the same difficulties and cause of their debt.
Unlike Rabbie Burns, those people that we’ve helped have been fortunate enough to manage their current predicament and look forward to a life after debt.
If you do something about your debt today, you don’t need to worry about it tomorrow.
Many people have left us a Trust Deed Scotland review where they speak about their own experiences and reasons that they got into debt in the first place. Our experienced debt advisers have spoken to people from all walks of life and provided confidential, non-judgemental advice.
Rabbie Burns Debt Legacy?
There’s a tragic irony that for a man with so little wealth to his name whilst still alive, that his face would be used upon our Scottish banknotes as a modern tribute and that the Clydesdale Bank would use the quote ‘I’ve seen the Oppressor’s cruise smile amid his hapless victim’s spoil‘.
Its perhaps fitting that in one of Burn’s most famous poetry works, To a Mouse, he wrote:
“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft a-gley, An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain For promis’d joy.”
Whether you celebrate Burns Night or not, there’s something in this line that we can all relate to.
If you are finding that you’re worried and stressed over your debts, it can be hugely uplifting to take the first step of seeking help. You may be able to take comfort in knowing that If you do something about your debt today, you don’t need to worry about it tomorrow.
Call us on 0141 221 0999 or try our Debt Calculator to find out what options you may have to get help with your debts. Our experienced debt advisers will be able to give you information on the pros and cons of all available debt solutions in Scotland including Trust Deeds, the Debt Arrangement Scheme and alternatives.