Let’s talk about Debt
Debt is horrible. It’s probably a reason you don’t think you can travel full-time but is also chips away at your self worth. It’s often something we don’t want to admit to or talk about.
In this email, you’ll learn:
- Why we struggled with debt.
- How we overcame it (5 solutions you may not realise exist)
1. Why we struggled
When you’re struggling with debt, the idea of doing something extra at the weekend feels impossible, let alone travelling full-time with your family.
You feel guilty for spending money on anything other than surviving, right?
Keri and I thought of ourselves as money-savvy people. Running a modest household should have been simple.
Our debt started small, putting essentials like car insurance, food etc on credit cards, we got sucked in by the 0% interest offers, telling ourselves things would get easier soon.
Eventually, all our expendable cash was spent on paying back debts.
This meant having to borrow more to pay for other basic needs.
It’s why we looked at creating the alternative incomes we talked about in our emails.
But that debt was also a significant reason we felt we couldn’t afford to invest in ourselves either
However, being too proud to admit to debt, costs us time, money and energy.
At one point we were paying £1000 a month in interest we didn’t need to.
Had we taken action earlier put this money into our business we would be making £20,000 a month more now.
We learned that lesson so you don’t have to.
2. What help can you get with debt?
I thought Debt support basically meant either:
A: Someone going through a patronising budget with you and pointing out things you could cut back on
B: Declaring bankruptcy/selling your house?
Not realistic right? Especially if you feel you’ve cut back on everything already and you have to be a millionaire to afford basic rent these days.
We had cut back on everything and just about managed to make minimum payments each month.
We kept paying the interest but never really made a dent in the actual debt.
We looked into consolidation loans and a remortgage.
Banks only want to lend money to people with money. Creditors will milk you as long as they can.
However, they don’t actually want you to go bankrupt.
If you do go bankrupt, they won’t get their money and they get a mark against them for “irresponsible lending”.
Here are things that are available to you.
1. Bankruptcy: The last resort
This means you say you can’t pay your loans.
Any assets you have will be liquidated. You’ll probably never get a mortgage, making living abroad a nightmare.
Let’s take this off the table right away. Plus did you know It actually cost £680 to declare bankruptcy?
Why it exists: It’s part of the system.
Money doesn’t actually represent anything tangible, once upon a time it represented gold.
It’s just an IOU that the bank of England makes up as an approximate unit of value. High street banks are entrusted to lend it out to stimulate the economy and get more back; “Growth”. Bankruptcy is the indicator to show when they get that wrong.
2. Breathing space: 60 days no interest or payment.
Introduced in 2021 breathing space means you speak directly to your creditors.
You can ask for 60 days of interest-free no payments. Good for getting back on your feet or dealing with unexpected costs.
Why it exists:
This is the bank’s equivalent of “Don’t tell mum”.
They don’t want you to explore the following options
3. IVA (individual voluntary arrangement): Freeze your interest and pay what you can for the next 3 years…
…after that, all your debt is written off.
If your circumstances change you pay more each month.
Not a permanent black mark against you.
It’s a great option but you have to see if you are eligible.
WHY it exists: It protects banks.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Truth is If you go bankrupt, creditors will not get any of their money and will get penalised for “irresponsible lending”
4. DRO (debt relief order): Freezes everything for 12 months, no payments, no interest, nothing…
…at the end of 12 months, your situation is assessed and either your debt is written off or you look at alternatives like the ones in this email.
Only for non-homeowners
Why it exists: It’s a buffer to bankruptcy...
…but also acknowledges that situations change both ways.
It was actually introduced in 2007, just before the recession. In some ways, it protects low-income households (You can’t own your own property, assets etc to be eligible) but also protects the economy.
5. DMS (Debt management scheme): freeze interest and pay what you owe.
Unlike an IVA you will pay back everything you owe but over however long it takes.
Like an IVA it freezes all the interest.
An insolvency Practitioner (IP) will help you find a realistic monthly sum and speak to all your creditors.
Why it exists: It’s a business.
This is not a formal government scheme like bankruptcy and the other ones above.
The IP fights on your behalf they take £45 a month from what you can afford to pay and pays the remaining amount to your creditors. The creditors listen because this way they get all their money back after already having milked you for interest.
What’s right for you?
We can’t give you financial advice, but this tool will help you figure out what you are eligible for.
These guys were amazing to us, not just for their advice but also for treating us like human beings. We found them honest and straightforwa