I ended up considering an IVA option after several redundancies and 2 long term relationship failures all combined within 5 years. Moving in and out of rental properties and getting by for months without a salary I managed to have debt total in excess of £30k. I was sick with worry and never slept properly for a long time! My first consultation over the phone was amazing! A caring voice that didn’t make me cringe further with embarrassment of the situation I had got into. I felt no pressure at any point looking into this option. It was very daunting at times but nothing was worse than all the bills I had to meet every month. I never missed any payments during any of my debt but only ever managed the minimum payment – on £30k I was going nowhere fast and it was only a matter of time before I couldn’t keep on top of it. Once I was in the arrangement it seemed a lot easier. I had to live ‘hand to mouth’ with minimal disposable income to spare. I kept thinking that is was always better than the bills that kept showing every month but I hated sharing my wage slips - the IVA arrangement would see any increase given to the IVA – if I has achieved any such bonus at work I always had to give 50% to the fund so I had no holidays for almost 5 years. The big challenge for me was the annual assessments/review – it was very stressful for me and made me very depressed when they came around. I had to have documentation to prove my monthly outgoings no matter how small. You have to be really organised and stay on top of all your finances. Keep all letter, contracts arrangements you can, without them you won’t be able to count them in to the monthly outgoings you’re committed to. I worked very hard to cut things out of daily life to leave me money to do occasional treats but if you don’t have documentation to prove all your outgoings any spare money is all just taken. It is nearly impossible to try and save anything. If you had any annual increase in your salary even small, if you could not prove your outgoings had increased in any way they would immediately put your monthly contribution up for the whole of the next year. They offer help with occasional unexpected costs. For example my rental agreement had an annual admin charge that was not taken in to consideration. When I asked for help they only offered you a break for that month from your contributions and it was added on at the end of the term. The most distressing thing for me about the IVA was that I could not rent anywhere easily as your credit rating is destroyed. Estate agents have the question written in the tenancy agreement so you can’t get around it. I was unable to get credit for a car to do my job and so further problems stemmed on from this. I was fortunate enough to have met someone who was kind enough to settle my arrangement early and overall I am glad I opted for this arrangement. My point of contact for the duration was not a very nice person to deal with – very cold but fair. I will never go into debt again for as long as I Iive (if I can help it)!