Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The view from the other side

As you might have noticed - there is quite a gap since my last post.

Basically, I reached the point, about 6 months into the bankruptcy, where the rest of my world fell apart. My wife (and kids) left me and I went down hill rapidly. Many months of sickness followed, extended time off work, a complete meltdown.

And now I'm through it. I feel good (hopefully that isn't the drugs still) and I'm looking forward. I live a modest life, I am divorced, and I'm happy.

I'm still paying the Insolvency Service monthly, I still have little left at the end of the month, my credit rating is still at the centre of the Earth (in other words it can't get lower) but life has begun again.

Good luck to all in the same boat - you can survive this.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Six months (and a day)

Here we are, half way.

For the first time in a very long time I feel human again - and it feels good. Last week I spent five days visiting an old (and wonderful) friend. I drank too much of his beer (not that he minded), we talked constantly (about everything under the sun), I discovered that he can't play poker (to save his life), and for the first time in aeons I feel fully refreshed. It's a long time since my batteries were full; a very long time.

I haven't posted much of late. Well, here's the revelation - on top of everything that the last year has brought my wife left me a few months ago; I was devastated. For the first time since then I am able to look forward rather than think of the past. It might be fleeting, but it's a feeling that I know will return, and it feels good.

The bankruptcy? Right now, I don't give a shit; I'm 45 and I'm trying to build my life from square one.

Thank you Gregor, and remember the guiding mantra from the Big Lebowski - 'Fuck it, Dude. Let's go bowling.'

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Five months

Is this how it's going to be from here on in - just counting the months? For good or bad life has achieved 'normality', whatever that means.

Five months. I'll give it another month and then risk a letter to the Insolvency Service to see what their intentions are (if any yet) about the house.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Four months

Yesterday was exactly four months since my bankruptcy. Interestingly, I didn't notice - has real life finally replaced bankruptcy as my number one priority?

Last week I received confirmation of my Income Payment Agreement (IPA). I am to make all payments to a firm of solicitors based in the South of England called Moon Beever. My first payment is due soon - I've actually paid it already online and I'll set up a standing order for the rest of the payments. Glad I can actually begin payments.

Still no news on the house though.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A message from the BBC

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a BBC researcher called Jonathan Davenport. He asked if I would be interested in appearing on a show due for broadcast on BBC TV sometime in July - the programme (actually a set of three programmes I think) is to cover many money related issues and as part of that they want to hear stories from people who have gone through insolvency. After much thought (you wouldn't believe how much) I decided to decline his offer. It was a very difficult decision as I feel very strongly that it is important to get our insolvency experiences to a wider audience - if only to counteract the ridiculous stories of bankers being paid millions in bonuses! Last year one in every 320 adults in our country went insolvent, one in ten never clear their overdrafts each month - we are a substantial group and our voices should be heard and our experiences should be told.

In the end my decision wasn't based on what my family and friends thought of me (everyone to a man has been totally supportive), but based on my work. I'm employed in quite a large organisation and there was always the possibility that my bankruptcy being made public could make my position untenable - and frankly I need the money. To assuage my guilt I offered to post a message on this blog for Jonathan - I hope that some of you will contact him. Here is his message:

Are you in an IVA/DMP or going bankrupt?
Have you had the right advice?
Do you want to share your story?
My name's Jonathan and I'm researching a new series for BBC 2 called Money Watch - looking at people's real life financial stories across the country. I'd like to hear your experiences about what it's like dealing with debt. If you're interested this could lead to some filming for the show. I look forward to hearing from you - my number's 020 8008 3989 or email's jonathan.davenport@bbc.co.uk

----------------------------
Jonathan Davenport
Money Watch
MC4 B4, BBC Media Centre
London, W12 7TQ
Tel: 020 8008 3989

Friday, 5 March 2010

Received this recently from Marc :

Hi Joe,

I came across your blog this morning and have just spent 30 minutes browsing through it – shame I didn’t come across it earlier! I went through the bankruptcy process myself late last year and like you I found it all a bit surreal in the end. I declared bankruptcy in Hull along with 4 other people on the same day, also just average Joes, if you’ll pardon the expression! I’ve starting telling friends and family now, and they’ve been quite supportive. To be honest, I really ought to have confided in them earlier.

It really doesn’t surprise me the statistic you quote on your blog, about 1 in 320 people in 2009. The attitude and tactics of some of my creditors was pretty shocking, and caused so much stress. I wish I’d gone and made the petition for bankruptcy a year earlier already, there were just so many incidents of paying something off but ending up with a bigger bill by the end of the month. I certainly wasn’t helping myself, and given that I hadn’t been doing anything stupid or reckless to get in to debt it just made me so angry.

One of my childhood friends, it turns out, used to work for the Insolvency Service and we’ve decided to try to do something positive and offer advice to people who are going down the bankruptcy route. You wrote somewhere about having a grand or two stashed away at the end, and I couldn’t agree more! It came in so useful for all the little items, and the not so little items like the £510 fee itself – it’s just ridiculous, isn’t it? Our aim is to help honest people applying for bankruptcy do so in the most advantageous way for them. We put together our website, www.bankruptcy-angel.com just last week and would be honoured if you’d mention it on your site.

I look forward to reading more about how your bankruptcy period unfolds,

Kind regards, and good luck!

Marc


Disclaimer: I've not used any of their services, am not connected with any of them, receive no kick-backs whatsoever, and I'm not responsible for them. If you choose to give anyone any of your hard-earned cash then (as always) 'buyer beware'

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

One in Ten

Another non-surprise (to those of us in the know) hit the headlines last week - more bad news for all the average Joes out there.

"Five million Britons are permanently overdrawn, and rising inflation could force more to live on their overdrafts, says product comparison website moneysupermarket.com."


What's that, 1 in 10 of the adult population?