When I used to think of an IVA I thought of bankruptcy, losing my home, getting this black mark against my name for the rest of my life but then I spoke to a very helpful debt solutions company. They explained what an IVA actually is. They advised me of the benefits of going into one for someone who had circumstances like me.
I never in a million years thought I would have to go down such a route but things happened so fast that I had no choice – looking back though it was the best thing I ever did as it resulted in me getting my life back on track.
It all started once I graduated from University in Leeds and moved back home to my parents in Birmingham. My dad suddenly decided to leave my mum and us children and had no intentions of supporting anyone financially.
I come from a traditional Pakistani family – where the father is the breadwinner and the mother a housewife. My mum came to England back in the 80’s, married my dad and has been a housewife ever since. Many Pakistani women of that generation never learnt to read, write, drive or be independent.
This meant that my mum was left to pay a mortgage, bills as well as feed 5 mouths. I was the eldest and my younger siblings were still in primary and secondary school. How was my mum to make ends meet when she couldn’t even speak English never mind get a full time job as well as with all her health issues?
It was left to me to pick up the pieces and make sense of everything- which I did for 4 years. However it got to the point where I was struggling to pay a mortgage, bills, my own expenses, my own personal loan and credit cards as well as all the costs of my younger siblings – lunch, uniforms, pocket money etc. I had more money going out then coming in and I felt like my life was falling apart.
For a few years I tried the reduced payment plans but the interest rates meant I would never see a light at the end of tunnel and this was not a good enough solution to my problem. I wanted my life back, I wanted savings, a nice car and my own house but none of this would be possible if my finances stayed like this.
I worked in banking and ironically worked with clients who were experiencing financial difficulties so I couldn’t possibly consider something as serious as an IVA – It would impact my credit rating and I could lose my job.
Curiosity got the better of me and so I called a Company and spoke to an advisor who explained everything to me. I had so many misconceptions – no I wouldn’t lose my home or my car and there would be that light at the end of the tunnel I was so desperately seeking.
The only thing now was my employer – how would it impact me. So I was just honest and upfront. I had a meeting with my manager and explained my whole situation and what my intention was. I wasn’t shying away from paying what I owed, I just needed a realistic plan that would mean I can clear the debt once and for all rather than spend a lifetime paying off just interest. They were supportive and understanding of my situation and under exceptional circumstances allowed me to carry this IVA on the condition I stuck to it and adhered to its payments and rules.
What a relief! Once I got the ball rolling it was pretty straight forward and my advisor made it all the more easier. I had to fill some forms and submit my paperwork and they did the rest. I always had someone on hand should I have any questions or concerns and once my IVA meeting took place – all I did was pay my agreed amount each month and they did the rest. Finally I felt some peace of mind!
I was able to pay an amount that was realistic and manageable as well as have the assurance it was paying my debts off. November 2017 will be my last payment on my IVA, that’s when my 5 years will be complete so my light at the end of the tunnel is very near. This means I can start again, start to think about my own life now that my debts are paid and my siblings are older and can take the weight off at home.
Going into an IVA was the best thing I ever did! If you want to pay your debt and also want to see a light at the end then I would strongly recommend considering an IVA. It has its challenges as I mentioned above but the key is to do your research and just be honest.
Go through a company whom you are comfortable chatting to and who in return make you feel heard and respected. They should be able to answer all your questions and queries truthfully. I am so glad I contacted one such company those many years ago – They gave me my life back.
I survived financial hardship and so can you!