What can I do about Debt
It is estimated that more than 8 million people in the UK are unable to cope with debt. If you’re struggling, there are things you can do to help you feel more in control of the situation and avoid making matters worse.
Don’t Bury Your Head
Whatever else you do, don’t ignore a debt problem. The sooner you face up to the situation and seek professional advice, the easier it will be to find a way out of the problems that are likely to be making you feel stressed and anxious. There are organisations and people who are professionally trained to help you deal with unmanageable debt.
Are You in Debt Crisis?
If you are struggling to pay your basic essential outgoings (such as your mortgage, energy bills and minimum payments) or if your debts (not including your mortgage) are bigger than a year’s net salary, then you are likely to be in debt crisis. This means that you are struggling with unmanageable debt and meeting repayments. It’s important to seek help as soon as possible.
Who Can I Talk To?
The best people to help you are free, not-for-profit organisations that have people professionally trained to offer debt counselling. These include Citizens Advice, StepChange Debt Charity and National Debtline. You can find lots of information and details about how to get their help on their websites, and in most cases you can get expert either advice online or on the phone.
Seeking help from a debt counsellor may seem like a daunting prospect, but they are not there to judge you or tell you where you went wrong. Their job is simply to make you feel better and more in control of your situation by being completely impartial and recommending a range of practical debt solutions tailored to your individual situation.
Be aware that these free, not-for-profit organisations are very different from commercial companies who make money out of helping you – these should be avoided. This includes going direct to IVAs and debt-wiping companies. If these solutions are the right path for you, the debt-counselling agencies detailed above will point you in that direction.
What Can a Debt Counsellor Do?
If you’re being chased for money by debt-collection agencies, a professional debt-counsellor can inform collectors that you are seeking help, and this means that, by law, the debt collectors are not allowed to contact you again for at least 30 days. This can be of huge significance if you are feeling suffocated by demands for money, as it gives you time and space to work with your debt counsellor and put a plan together.
Your exact course of action will vary, as there are many possible options for dealing with unmanageable debt, but the strategies a debt counsellor employs may include:
- Negotiating with creditors on your behalf
- Placing you on a debt management plan
- Negotiating for your interest to be frozen
- Counselling you on the debt solutions available, which include IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), Debt Relief Orders and Bankruptcy
- Helping you prioritise your debts while ensuring other essential bills are paid
Most people who seek professional help for unmanageable debt say that they feel instantly better just for talking to someone who understands. If you are concerned about your debt, the best thing you can do is make contact with a debt-counselling service today.