I found myself getting deeper into debt in 2010. I was in a relationship and my partner at the time just loved spending money that we hadn’t got. Credit cards were maxed and then consolidation loans taken against the house and bank loans were taken to pay off the cards and the cycle would repeat.

We eventually went into a debt management plan which seemed to curb the problem. Later that year the relationship ended and we went our separate ways. My partner remained in the property and we both took out individual debt plans. As time passed it became apparent that we could no longer keep the house and it was repossessed in 2012 for the half its value leaving a large shortfall.

It was at this point I decided to look at IVA as my debt plan was due to carry on for another 48 years long after my death. I contacted a leading debt help company and was introduced to Keith White. I remember feeling ashamed and worthless at the time embarrassed that I had got into this mess.

Keith was great he quickly reassured me he listened to my situation and after a long chat came up with a solution that would allow me to be debt free in five years, this was music to my ears. The initial setting process seems a bit long winded and the financial information seems onerous.

His Company kept me up to speed throughout the initial stages. Finally after several telephone discussions a report was presented to me with a proposal that would be put through to my creditors. This enabled me to make one single monthly payment by direct debit to my creditors this was based on my income and expenditure which is all set out for you.

A meeting was convened on my behalf and all creditors were invited and the proposal was accepted on the 2/1/2013. I remember thinking what a great relief that was to me at the time I was finally on the road to becoming debt free.

It’s worth noting at this time that my case was then passed to an IVA company who then manage the IVA and liaise with your insolvency practitioner. I feel it’s worth mentioning that you lose a lot of the personal touch you become a reference number in the system rather than an individual.

First year skipped by then the first review letter dropped through the door. I remember at the time thinking paper work hassle etc. I needed 12 months’ pay slips bank statements. Income and expenditure has to reviewed any extra income has to be declared.

Tip keep a folder and put all your wage slips P60 and bank statements in one file as this saves time at and stress when the review is due.

Second year review time and a change with my daughters education status left me with a much larger monthly figure to find. It was a struggle to start and I needed the support of my mum to help us out. Third year the payments remained the same no increase felt very relieved.

Into the fourth year and our circumstances changed my wife retired from her job in education and claimed her lump sum payment. She very kindly offered to give the money to make a full and final offer to my creditors. I was over the moon. We started the process in July 2016

Tip make sure you sign letter of authority for them to act to claim any outstanding PPI I put this off as I had done the PPI checks myself prior to IVA. You cannot go for a final settlement until this has been completed, this slowed down my claim by 2 months.

Midterm financial reviews have  to take place and a letter from the person gifting you the money has to be verified and the account with the funds have to be verified. It’s now Christmas 2016 and a statement with my final offer is prepared to go to a meeting with the creditors 13th Jan 2017 

The creditors have 28 days to review and respond to the offer before a meeting is finalised to happen on Valentine’s Day. I received a phone call to inform me that the offer had been accepted. I was so pleased and elated that finally I was debt free.

I asked what the next steps were I was informed that it would take 6 weeks to close all the accounts down and then a certificate of completion would be issued. Only then would my IVA be finally completed.

The completion process dragged on and I had to push to complete so would should have been 6 weeks ended up being 3 months. I finally received my completion certificate 2 weeks ago.

What a relief!