How many of us can honestly say we don't owe any money? No debt, nothing due, plenty of money left over each month.
You can? We'll you'll be one of the few lucky ones then - or the very, very careful!
In today's financial climate I think nearly all of us owes something. A couple of hundred years ago, most of us would have spend time in debtor's prison, consumed with shame and the stigma of owing money.
Nowadays there is seems little shame in being in debt, partly I believe because so many of us are, but also because our culture has changed into one built on credit.
I have friends who have ended up in quite substantial debt, not really through any fault of their own. They have a modest income. They don't have lavish holidays. Their cars are getting on for elderly and they do much of the maintainance on them themselves. They shop moderately, and grow their own veg. They recycle and do their own maintenance and household chores. They have no mortgage and don't go out for meals and drinks often. Yet due to messy legal issues over residency of the children from his previous marriage, they are now quite considerably in debt and were struggling to make ends meet.
They don't try to excuse themselves, and sympathy won't pay the bills. What this couple needed was a practical solution. They dismissed those adverts you see on television promising to fix your debt problems, as they both believed the only options they provided would be more damaging than helpful. Indeed you do have to be careful you don't get into a plan that in fact makes the debt worse. However they did end up meeting Croydon debt advisor Jonathon Monk of Monkfish Property and Finance, recommended as a 'friend-of-a-friend'.
Going through things with him reassured them that there were practical solutions to their debt issues, and gave them the confidence to take control.
There are plenty of companies out there like Monkfish who offer debt management services, and some charge more or less in fees. Some charities like CCCS charge nothing at all. Clearstart charges very little, or claims their fees back from the creditors. However, there can be a waiting list for the charity options, and it may depend on how quickly you need to take action.
You must always be aware that entering into any debt management plan or IVA will have an effect on your credit file for six years, but this has to be balanced against the risk of defaulting anyway if you are struggling to make the full payments.
Talking to Monkfish Property and Finance could very well have saved my friend's necks, so now they owe something else apparently - gratitude.
If you know you have debt problems, don't hope they'll go away. Take control as soon as you can and get advice. Try a few companies if you like, but get as much information as possible so you can make descisions based on your own personal situation.
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