Like most we had credit cards and overdrafts exceeding what most of us make every month. With the onset of our second child we knew that it would be completely impossible to cover our bills whilst I was on maternity leave. We had never missed a payment, or had bad credit, but it would have easily got to that stage hadn’t we opted to resolve the issue then and there.
So, in Summer of 2012 I was searching the internet (normally always fatal!) about debt and trying to find alternatives of how to tackle them, the obvious were banded about i.e. taking out a loan (more credit (!) and thus cover existing debt, but having a smaller payment), but I didn’t want to go down that route. We could have made arrangements with the companies themselves, but felt this wouldn’t help us in the long run. In the end I came across the IVA Forum and this was how it all started!
I read up on lots of posts over a few days, and the more I read the more it made sense to pursue an IVA, (hubby took a lot more convincing however). One name in particular kept coming up as a good company to use (and was a regularly poster herself), her name was Melanie Giles from PJG Recovery. One enquiry through her website later we were then going through our I&E and proposing a Variation Meeting. Nerve-wrecking finding out the outcome, but was made in our favour. Melanie was informative, extremely helpful with our queries, and so in August 2012 we made our first ever payment to PJG. We lived through our means and carried on as normal, doing our yearly I&E and crossing our t’s and dotting the i’s, and nothing changed until we had a letter from PJG Recovery in 2014 (and the same year I went on to have my third child!) to announce that some accounts were being handed over to another company called CreditFix. I know many of you on here were put in the same position, and many were not happy about it, I personally didn’t feel worried about the transition. CreditFix covered any worries, and so for us any queries we had they dealt with straightaway, and thankfully for us it went on as per normal; I&E’s were done as normal, as were our payments. We were able to settle our IVA a year early in July 2017 and a completion certificate was received in a matter of days, again, I know that hasn’t been the case for many. I have been grateful for both Melanie Giles and their staff and with CreditFix with how our IVA was managed over the years.
So what since then? Well we noticed that we were taken of the insolvency register quite quickly after receiving our completion certificate, of course our credit files were showing defaults and a terrible score, which will happen up to Year 6 of coming off an IVA, so no surprises there.
Being in an IVA does teach you to budget, save, and fully appreciate that you can pay for things in CASH! As opposed to getting credit out, or maxing out your credit cards! You can budget for food, or realise having certain materialistic things don’t need to be bought. No more feeling sick to your stomach about how you’re going to pay your debts every month (those bills will always come on time each and every month!) and feeling great that you don’t have that weight on your shoulders!
We desperately wanted to move house, and again the IVA Forum came to our rescue! We sought the advice from Ryan from Zebra Mortgage, who have been highly recommended on here, about our chances of being able to obtain a mortgage having been in an IVA. Ryan was amazing, responding to countless questions I had, and once our defaults dropped off and our credit score was repaired Ryan put through a mortgage application and we were able to secure a fixed rate with a high street lender!
We cannot thank Ryan (and his team) enough for his help and would highly recommend his services should you need to get a mortgage in the future. We have just moved in to our new home and it’s all thanks in part to Zebra Mortgage Centre. And of course it goes without saying a HUGE thank you to the IVA Forum and all you lovely, helpful admins who respond to posts. I’ve mostly lurked and rarely posted, but always had an immediate response to any questions I’ve put forward. Without the IVA Forum we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today, seriously. I know an IVA isn’t to be taken lightly, you have to be strict with the monthly commitments to payments. Being honest in your living expenses, (especially in your I&E) and if you do come into situations (ie. Car repairs etc.), speak to your case handler and they will grant you a payment break or advise you further. Just be honest in everything. Don’t seek out more debt, be really (and I cannot reiterate that more) REALLY, strict with yourself (I know it’s not easy) but going into an IVA has lessons to be learned from it.
Being in an IVA for the duration feels like a long time, (it is in some ways), but it will go by and you’ll see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, believe me!
If you’ve read this far, I applaud you, but I thought it might be helpful to maybe someone like me, as I was all those years ago happening to stumble upon a website/forum to help in the same situation.
For those of you contemplating an IVA really read up on all the facts, go for a recommended company, and just make sure it’s the right thing for YOU. For those of you already on your journey stick with it! And for those coming to the end or have made their last payment, well done you, that Completion Certificate is coming to you soon! Here’s to a debt free future!
TIPS: Always budget for food, for us as a large family it was always a big spend, so we always budgeted as much as we could for food etc. put a little savings away if you can (even if it’s a few pounds) for emergencies.
Other info: My husband had a car on HP and that was allowed with our IVA as was our Secured Loan at the time. As with childcare costs, they were always factored in our I&E.
Merry Christmas and good luck everyone!
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