A few years ago, I found myself in a situation where I was using credit cards to pay off credit cards. It was only when I received a bill from the bank saying they were now charging me a monthly rate of 30% that I felt I couldn’t carry on. I attempted to pay the debts using the services of an adviser but, although an arrangement was in place for over a year, the payments did not even make a dent in the outstanding amount, and I was getting more and more depressed. I owed over £46,000. To have that huge weight on my shoulders, with seemingly no end in sight, was quite overwhelming.
A helping hand
I knew I had to do something to get out of the situation I was in; life was losing all of its enjoyment. At 65, the prospect of losing the home I very happily share with my wife was not really an option… we’d have nowhere to go. It was at this point that I started looking around and found Bennett Jones.
It felt like Bennett Jones just picked me up and supported me from the word go. I now had someone else on my side; that made a huge difference, both emotionally and practically. They never judged me about the debt – something that still carries a huge amount of shame for me. They knew exactly what kind of situation I was in and I suddenly realised I wasn’t alone; lots of people have been through the exact same thing.
The process was all very seamless. Bennett Jones went through my outgoings and my income, and put together a proposal of what they thought I could afford per month. They then acted as a buffer between me and my creditors – bringing an end to the constant calls and developing a realistic plan of action.
I knew from the word go that what Bennett Jones would suggest would be achievable. I had every confidence that they weren’t going to come back and say: “sorry, not possible!”. They have a lot of experience in knowing what creditors will accept and what they won’t – they got it right first time.
In May 2017, Bennett Jones successfully arranged an IVA. After five years, and with manageable monthly repayments, the whole thing would come to an end. I can’t tell you the relief that rushed over me. That weight on my shoulders had lessened considerably.
My case is slightly more unusual than most. Not long after the IVA was approved, a friend of mine agreed to help me by providing funds to be paid to my creditors immediately. I went to Bennett Jones to ask if it was possible and they said yes. They arranged with my creditors for my friend’s money to be paid to them in place of the 5-year arrangement originally put in place. But even if that hadn’t happened, I know my debts would still have been sorted and that I had been given the opportunity to start enjoying my life again. Bennett Jones were a friend when I needed it most.