About 7 years ago we got into a bit of financial trouble and every month we were struggling to make ends meet with hardly any money left over to do anything. It came to a stage where we had to resort to high interest payday loans. Occasionally we had to default on credit card payments and letters and phone calls started rolling in. It all started due to childbirth in the family and my wife had to go on extended maternity leave so basically we had only one income for 6-8 months which than triggered things.

Initially we went into a debt management plan for around 6 months but this was not agreeable to all creditors and one of my friends who was aware of our situation advised to consider an IVA or bankruptcy. The difference to me lay in the fact that with an IVA we could still exercise some control over our properties which now was our only positive investment. When we agreed to an IVA we set about looking for someone to administer this and after a lot of search we settled on one in particular. I have to say when all our documents were submitted to the company it took not more than 6 weeks to have the initial meeting with the creditors and although it was a bit stressful for the meeting to happen, once it did and the IVA was agreed we were ecstatic to say the least because at least we knew a fixed amount of money would go every month and we would be able to manage our finances much better.

During the IVA, our lives were relatively easier than before although we did not have any thing in the way of savings and obviously, no backup of having any sort of credit facility available to us. Sometimes getting even phone contracts and car insurance seem to be difficult but somehow we managed. What’s interesting is, and this is what we realised during the IVA that things could still go upside down. There were some months where my salary was reduced and other months where we had unexpected expenses which caused a bit of stress. We immediately contacted the IVA supervisor often just through an email explaining the circumstances as well providing evidence and on all occasions, we could defer payments for a month or two to all for the financial issues to resolve. Also during the IVA one of us had a problem where we were unemployed for a few months and once we had informed the IVA team, a second meeting was called with the creditors and a new lower monthly payment was agreed which was a blessing for us.

Midway towards the IVA we received a financial windfall whereby my parents offered a lump sum payment to the creditors to try and complete the IVA. We immediately informed the IVA supervisor who called a meeting with the creditors who agreed to our terms and around 3 years into the IVA we were completely debt free. I really appreciate the fact that although the terms of the IVA can seem strict – there is flexibility as well, as our 2 variation meetings showed.

This was a huge relief for us with a burden lifted from over our heads and finally we could lead our lives in a financially responsible way and we are very happy we took the path along the IVA.I know it’s not for everyone but it was for us and we believe it is something which needs to be considered by anyone who has got into financial difficulties.