I didn’t really have much of an idea about what an IVA was. I’d seen it mentioned in the same sentences as things such as bankruptcy and debt, and in my mind, an IVA was something kind of in-between, but I didn’t really know any more than that.
 
I was 29 years old, living in London, a move I’d made a few years earlier due to being made redundant from my job in my hometown of Manchester. I had accumulated a number of debts, not a crazy amount, I think it was two credit cards. There was also a monthly payment for some furniture which myself and my partner at the time had purchased, due to suddenly needing to move into a non-furnished flat.
 
With the credit cards, I’d made the mistake that I’m sure many other people also make; switching the balance to an interest free card and then rather than closing the other credit card account, continuing to use the previous card, since any outstanding monies on it had been paid off. Silly when I look at it in hindsight, but again, extremely common, I’m certain.
 
My partner had said to me, what are your total debts and what are you paying off each month? When I actually took the time to work this out, it was very clear that I needed to consolidate everything. There were always adverts on the television about consolidating debts and loans but they always freaked me out a bit, fear of the unknown.
 
I searched online and read up a little bit about my options. I can’t fully recall the process but I believe I did some kind of online survey to see if my circumstances meant that an IVA was suitable for me. I had found debt help companies in a Google search, did some research on the company and thought I will give this a try, I have nothing to lose, I think?
 
After an initial contact with one Company I had so many questions. Was this right for me? Would I have a black mark against my name forever? Would it affect my job? Would I ever be able to get a mortgage? Was this a bad, embarrassing thing to do?
 
My contact and all of my dealings with Keith and his staff were nothing but informative and reassuring. I had to submit information and proof of my debts, details of my monthly outgoings, incomings, and the usual things that you’d expect to have to do. After doing this, they advised me of my options, the IVA being one of them. I didn’t want to go bankrupt and I was also keen to have the total debt cleared in a decent amount of time - I had so many questions for them, and they were able to answer everything and reassure me with facts.
 
My IVA Company dealt with my creditors on my behalf, which was great; no court appearances or anything else scary that you may think could be necessary for yourself to do in these kind of situations.  Once everything had been agreed and approved, the payments were set up and I now had a goal to work towards. One goal, not three or four, so much more manageable and realistic.
 
My monthly payment total was much less than what I’d previously been paying per month for my combined debts.  These payments have been being taken from me every month since September 2012. I have needed to occasionally contact my IVA Company, they have been great, really helpful.
 
I haven’t had any problems arising during the IVA. Yes, I’ve been living within a budget, but certainly a more manageable one than previously. The IVA was 100% the right decision for me to make, and now, once it’s paid off, the money I will have free each month, I will put into a savings scheme.
 
Thankfully, the whole process right from the very beginning was so much easier and less scary than I had expected; I am so glad that I did this, and in a few months’ time, everything will be paid off.