Rising prices lead to rising numbers seeking help with their debts
As a result of the recent hikes in the cost of living, more people are ‘feeling the pinch’ as increasing prices start to hit their pockets. According to the Daily Mail’s Cost of Living Index, during the last 12 months, the average family’s food bill has risen by over 18 per cent, unleaded petrol is up 15.6 per cent, diesel is up 25.5 per cent, gas has risen by 12.5 per cent and electricity has risen by 12.9 per cent.
More importantly if you’re a homeowner and you fall behind with your mortgage repayments, or other secured loans, you may fear your home will be repossessed. According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, there were some 27,100 repossessions in 2007. This number is expected to rise during 2008, made all the more worse by the continuing ‘credit crunch’.
If this is you, then we can help. Don’t leave it until too late before you give us a ring.
The amount of money currently owed by people in the UK stands at £1.43 trillion. This ‘personal debt’ is at an all-time high, and it’s rising. According to Credit Action, a national money education charity, 292 people were declared bankrupt or insolvent ie unable to pay what they owe, on 1 May 2008.
The Accuma Group, the Manchester-based debt-solutions company, along with Debtsolver, a part of the Accuma Group, is here to help you. We offer you a range of services to help you manage your debts, including Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs), one of the government’s preferred debt-solution options.
An IVA is often the best option if you’re struggling to pay fairly high levels of unsecured debt, typically over £15,000 (an unsecured debt could be for a store card, bank loan, mobile phone bill, bank overdraft, gas and electricity bills, or credit card bills). This is especially the case when you need to reduce your monthly payments to an amount you can afford, and you want to avoid the stigma of bankruptcy, which comes with the potential risk of losing your home; and you want to avoid the uncertainty of an informal debt-management arrangement.
So what is an IVA?
An IVA is a legally binding contract between the debtor, ie you, and your creditors, ie those you owe money to.
On the plus side, this means that, instead of making payments each month to various creditors, you make one affordable payment, usually over 60 months, to what’s known as a licensed insolvency practitioner, who arranges and manages IVAs. The moment the arrangement is in place, your creditors have to stop adding interest or charges to the money you already owe, and they must also stop demanding any money from you. Any debt that is still outstanding at the end of the IVA is written off by the creditors.
Another benefit of an IVA is that it doesn’t matter if you own your own home or are a tenant. If you are a homeowner, the good news is that you can protect your home with an IVA*, as your mortgage or loan repayments (and any arrears you’re paying) are maintained as a priority, and separately from your monthly IVA payment.
On the negative side, and just like bankruptcy, an IVA will affect your credit rating (ie your ability to get loans etc in the future) for up to six years. And you may have to remortgage your home towards the end of the IVA, releasing some of the money tied up in the house to give to creditors.
*Your home is still at risk of repossession if you fail to maintain repayments on any loan secured against it.
Whilst we make every effort to ensure this article is as up to date as possible, Accuma cannot be held responsible for changes in legislation or developments in case law since this article was produced and published. Article produced in June 2008
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Pracy is Marketing Manager for Accuma Group Plc. Chris manages a number of debt management and debt advice related websites including www.debtsolver.co.uk and www.debt1.co.uk