My IVA journey started when I moved to a new house which needed work doing to it. I employed a family friend to carry out the work, unfortunately he took all the money I had and more and moved away leaving me with a house not finished and me in more debt than I could ever imagine.


I struggled on for a few months withdrawing money on credit cards to try and cover my monthly bills, I went from having an almost 100% credit rating to not having enough money to pay my bills and buy food for me and my son at this time I actually contemplated suicide as I couldn't see any way out.


I googled citizen advice and that's when I heard of an IVA I read about it and thought about it for a while scared to actually take the first step having to discuss my debt problem with someone who I thought would judge me.  By chance I clicked onto one company’s website and took the plunge to make contact as by then I'd accepted that the debt wasn't going to go away and I wasn't going to win the lottery!!  Keith emailed me and I immediately relaxed his email was both supportive and non-judgemental and for the first time in a long time I felt I could relax and that maybe there was light at the end of the tunnel.


It really is true in this scenario a problem shared is a problem halved I was dreading the post coming the daily texts from the bank saying I was overdrawn on my overdraft and then suddenly your advisor takes over all of that and you just have to provide the details of your creditors and they do all the work so that a massive weight is lifted off your shoulders. 


The setting up of the IVA was relatively straight forward. You receive forms through the post to complete then they write to your creditors and a meeting is arranged. The day of the meeting was terrifying, what if they didn't agree to the IVA? What would I do then? I needn't have worried it went through without an issue.


I've now had the IVA for 14 months and it has been hard going from having credit cards and overdrafts to having to live off your wages is not easy I worry what will happen if my washing machine breaks I can't afford to get a new one and can't get credit to buy a new one but even if I hadn't gone for the IVA I would have been in exactly the same position. The other issue I hadn't appreciated before the IVA is that as you can't get credit you have to stay with your current insurance provider unless you have the money to pay the year in full also same goes for your mortgage no more shopping around for a better deal.


However having said that the IVA was without a doubt the best decision I have ever made. I couldn't live the way I was not sleeping worrying constantly, yes living on a budget is hard but I know it has an end point. Yes it will take a few years but at least I now can see the light at the end of the tunnel where before this there was no end in sight. I would definitely recommend an IVA to anyone who finds themselves in a similar position to me.