Tuesday, 18 May 2010
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. 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
Thursday, 11 March 2010
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
I now have some good news to report. The Official Receiver has reduced my Income Payment Agreement (IPA) payment to a lower (and payable) sum. I used the basis of the figures in Data for family expenditure (available as a spreadsheet from the Insolvency Service's website - www.insolvency.gov.uk/DocumentLibrary/Policy/Excel/Household%20Expenditur.xls) to challenge some of the Official Receiver's original views on my outgoings and I was successful in most areas. One thing surprised me - I wasn't allowed £20 a month to give the kids at least some enjoyable experiences during the holidays. No complaints though, I immediately signed the agreement and expect my copy through the post any day. I'm actually looking forward to beginning to pay the IPA - the sooner I start the sooner the 36th payment.
Still no news on the house - but I know I'll hear at some point and I'm not pressing for it.
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Tuesday, 16 February 2010
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
We went through similar problems about 8 years ago and entered an IVA in November 2002. Boy I wish your blog had been there then!
We both agree that the whole process of becoming insolvent, dealing with creditors and going into the IVA was the worst and best thing that ever happened to us. We had months of threatening phone calls, letters and stress and then the feeling that we were somehow morally lacking because we were in a financial mess and needed someone elses help to get us into the IVA.
We were the same as you - no exotic holidays (we have never taken a foreign holiday as they are too expensive), no flash or new cars (could only ever afford second hand ones), a smallish mortgage for our ex-council house and our food and clothes bills were very much made up of necessities rather than treats and luxuries. We both worked full time and at the time our four children were aged between 7 and 16.
We made ends meet with credit cards, catalogues (for clothes for the kids) and small bank loans for when we needed to replace the car. It didn't take much for us to cross the line into financial disaster. Although we entered the IVA with unsecured debts of 35k, what triggered the whole thing was a catalogue company starting court proceedings against us for a £230 bill. We had been struggling for a while by that point and had tried to reach agreements with the creditors, but the catalogue firm wouldn't play ball.
The sound of the phone ringing or post coming through the door was enough to send me running for the toilet to vomit (really) and X (my hubby) had a breakdown and needed 6 months off work - the last thing we needed at the time. Despite starting IVA proceedings, we still had letters and nasty phone calls until mid 2003 and after the IVA was made one of the banks tried to force us to sell the house for a 7k bank loan. This was totally illegal, but the stress of that set both of us back to square one emotionally.
To cut a long story short - we got through it and so will you. We paid off the IVA early (although the administrators didn't want us to) and we now have perfect credit scores. We still only have our little mortgage and only ever deal in cash - no overdrafts or cards and if we can't afford something we wait till we can. Its hard but my one fear in life is being back to where we were in 2002. It broke both of us emotionally and its taken us a long time to get over it.
Almost 8 years later we are wiser and far more appreciative of the things we have that don't cost money - its just a shame we had to hit rock bottom to realise it. Corny but true.
I think what I am trying to say is hang on in there. There is life after financial hell and at the end of the day its only money. If you haven't got it they can't take it and they can only take your dignity if you let them.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
Friday, 5 February 2010
These days bankruptcy is seen as 'an easy way out of debt' - and I wouldn't be surprised if you received emails in this vein.
The truth is that bankruptcy is a terrifying experience. I'm about two and a half months into my bankruptcy and only now is my life attaining any level of normality - or rather a new normality. On my day in Court six of us were declared bankrupt - just average people that you would pass on the street - all walks of life, men, women, young, old.
What I would like everyone to know is that there are so many others out there living on this precipice - something like a million people. Before you judge these 134,142 individuals please remember the millions who are already sliding into this hole, and all those uncounted millions who are only one small disaster from being included in this year's figures. I hope you are not one of them.
"Around a million people in the UK are struggling with debts without seeking help from their creditors, insolvency professionals said today."
This has similar figures to the report by Shelter last month, something I blogged about then.
Sorry, but I couldn't resist posting a message to them - amazing how little the average Gruaniad reader actually understands about the terrors of bankruptcy. I'm sure someone will shoot me down in flames, but it had to be said.
"Money worries are the main concern of stressed-out Britons, according to the result of a poll published today which reveals that as many as 40 million adults admit to suffering from some form of regular anxiety."
Read the whole thing at : http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/feb/03/money-worries-britons-stress
There are, as I understand it, two ways that your bankruptcy is advertised - and neither way is likely ever to reach people you know.
- They put it in a paper in London called The London Gazette - 'one of the official journals of record of the British government' according to Wikipedia. They also have a website ( http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/ ). Nobody, apart from lawyers and ambulance chasers reads this. I have been able to find myself listed there, and they put in your full name, occupation and address - but as far as I can see this sort of thing doesn't end up in Google and other search engines (but I might be wrong - certainly I've tried various searches to try to make this pop out of Google associated with my name and I've failed every time). Interestingly, you might get a few letters from companies that deal with debt management once your name is in this - ignore the letters, they are scum!
- You name is also put on the Insolvency Register which is linked from the Insolvency Service's website (http://www.insolvency.gov.uk/bankruptcy/bankruptcysearch.htm ). Again, no one reads this sort of stuff apart from lawyers and ambulance chasers...
134,142 - That is the total number of individual insolvencies in England and Wales for 2009. Of this 74,670 were bankruptcies (me being one of them) - the numbers are up over 10% of the 2008 figure. Astoundingly this is approximately 1 in 320 of the adult population. Not only am I not alone, the chances are that if there isn't anyone else going through this in my street then they are pretty much only a street away.
Here is a graph, taken from the Insolvency Service statistics for 2009:
Sobering, or what.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Friday, 22 January 2010
So, some news at last, some of it good and some that needs to be challenged. First the good news - we get to keep the car and we don't have to 'buy' any interest in it, so that is a big relief. I never thought I'd be as relieved as this - I don't even like the damned noddy car - but at least it's ours and we don't have to go through the experience of having our car sold from under us. Chalk one up to our side for once!
Next up, on looking at the budget details that I gave them they want me to agree to an Income Payment Agreement of £300 per month for the next three years. Now, I was hoping to avoid an IPA, but I guess I did really expect one - after all I'm a bankrupt and the Insolvency Service has to do it's best to claw something back for my creditors (even if they are faceless banking corporations - the same bastards that screwed our country for years to come). The amount of £300 feels a bit steep - and frankly I don't know how I'll pay it at the moment - but the first step is to challenge some of the figures from the Insolvency Service; I have realised over the last couple of months that I missed a few things off that I'm able to claim for and so I'll have a go at reducing the IPA to something that feels a little more reasonable. Of course, I may not succeed - in which case I shut up and get on with paying, but I have to try.
Still no news on the house, but I guess I feel a little better that I'm close to an agreement on the IPA (even if it makes things tight for three years). I hope soon to be in the phase where I just get my head down, pay monthly what I need to pay, have no more scary paperwork to deal with - and get to the point where I'm no longer bankrupt. I realise that following that is still the huge stage of trying to recover my credit rating - but that is still a long way away, and one step at a time.
Sunday, 17 January 2010
Saturday, 16 January 2010
Thousands of households have taken out loans with interest rates averaging 825% during "the worst Christmas in a generation" for illegal doorstep lending, according to a new report.
Read the whole thing at : http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/jan/15/loan-sharks-poorest-households (The Guardian, 15th. January, 2010)
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
About 1 million families have resorted to using credit cards to pay their mortgage or rent during the past year, the housing charity Shelter claimed today.
A survey by the organisation found around 6% of households had used their plastic during the past 12 months, in order to keep up with their housing costs.
People in working class professions were most likely to use debt to cover their mortgage or rent at 8%, but 4% of ABC1s also admitted they had used their credit card in this way.
Wednesday, 6 January 2010
Unbelievable isn't it - right now people are too broke to go bankrupt. I guess the rush will be February.
Happy New Year.