I think it was Confucius who said "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". I took my first "single step" way back in 2006, over twelve years ago. it was seven years today when I made the final payment into my IVA, an anniversary that is indelibly etched into my memory. The day that I made that payment I promised myself that I would never again allow my finances to get into such a situation and I developed a very healthy and deep rooted mistrust of banks and self serving financial institutions. When I took that first step I was in a dire mess, in fact, it was almost a £100,000 mess and I seemed to be in a hole so deep that they hadn't yet invented a ladder that was long enough to allow me to climb out of it. The phone would ring off the hook, if it wasn't the bank then it was the loan company or one of my many credit card providers and my letter box had been transformed into a hole in the front door that just spewed out debt collection letters and bogus solicitors correspondence on an almost continuous basis, to the point that they began to fill several bin bags, and many remained unopened. Things were really very tough.
Fast forward seven years and believe it or not I do still check in this forum from time to time, because its important never to forget what we accomplished but also to remind myself that there are still many many people embarking on, moving through or completing the IVA process with all the stresses and challenges that entails. I posted many times in this forum toward the end of my IVA and I have never forgotten what a great source of encouragement it was when the going got tough, and at times, believe me, it was very tough indeed. But most of all I remember reading the stories of people who had completed their journey which was source of inspiration and gave me the sheer determination and stubbornness to see it through to the end. The last seven years have , I'm pleased to say, remained entirely debt free and the frugal habits that I developed during the IVA have stayed with me. I have been very fortunate with my work and even started a small business on the side and we were also able to finally pay off our mortgage last year which was the last piece of lending that remained, I still can quite believe it. Had you asked me back in 2006 if that would be the position in 2018, I would have laughed you out of the room, or at the very least have thought you were completely bananas. Had you asked me in 2011 I would still probably have thought you slightly barmy.... I have remained obsessed with budgeting (drives my wife crazy at times) but I cant live without a budget these days and I still use the excel template that I set up and used to send in to DFD for my annual reviews as the base of the budget, (how mad is that) Also the tin that we used to keep the weekly contingency money in during the IVA is still in use!! In reality We live a very frugal lifestyle and I still use my prepaid MasterCard (Cash Plus) when travelling which I first took out when I was in the IVA. I did have to apply for a credit card last year for car hire, (I actually felt physically queasy doing the application which was odd), it was just a back up plan in case the Cash Plus card was declined for the deposit and we would have been stranded. As it turns out they were perfectly happy with my cash plus card so the credit card was chopped in half and sent back as soon as we got back the UK.
So.... Seven years on I thought I would share this with you for no other reason than to give some encouragement to those of you who are embarking on this journey, you can do it, just stay determined and budget like your depends on it. I read constantly that unsecured lending is rising to record levels once again, and we all know what that means, plenty more work for IP's as people find themselves over burdened by debt that they simply cant repay. It will be hard at times, there will be good days and there will be bad days but this forum is a great place to get support and advice, populated by people who have walked a mile in your shoes and most importantly found the courage to start a journey of a thousand miles with a single step
Good luck and keep going!
IVA finished June 2011
"If you listen to people who tell you what's impossible, they're usually the ones who failed" Paul Stanley