Looking back over the time of the IVA, it started a bit differently to many at the time. I was advised initially to speak with Melanie Giles, who many people felt was one of the best IPs around. I spoke to one of her advisers and the advice I got was to not proceed with an IVA but to make other changes to try to combat the debt. This advice turned out to make my situation worse and a year later I did enter into an IVA with CCCS (now Stepchange).
Once I’d signed up I read some reviews that made me think I’d made a mistake with CCCS, people suggesting that their interests lay with the banks and other creditors and that you never got to speak with the IP. Whilst these things may have been true I have nothing but good things to say about CCCS/Stepchange. Throughout the 5+ years I may have spoken to many different advisers but every one of them were extremely helpful and actually worked with me rather than against me. I would actually recommend Stepchange to anybody who is considering an IVA (and they only took 2 weeks to send out my completion certificate).
Finally some advice/thoughts to anyone new to the IVA process:
1.Keep your respect - your not a bad person, you’ve just made mistakes.
2.Share your problems with family or close friends. After the initial embarrassment of telling someone then the support they offer may get yo through tough times.
3.Remember things will get better - it might seem a long road but the end will be such a massive relief and allow you to move forward with your life.
4.Be honest with your IP/Advisor - work the system but don’t abuse it, know your IVA guidelines for what to use in annual reviews and speak with IP with any issues you have. Always pay any 50% of overtime payments or windfalls, don’t leave these to come to light at reviews.
5.Smile - you’ll find it hard some days but it really does help.
I’m going to stick around on this forum and offer advice whenever I can and I wish all of you currently in an IVA the best of luck with completion.
Yes, my marriage went west during my IVA, which, I feel had some bearing on things. But, I have to say, with the financial freedom, it gave me a new start and a fresh life with my and little Foggy in our new, smaller, family. More than 4 years have passed and I still owe no one a penny and have got a modest savings pot.
Onward and Upward
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