Easter is looming and we all know what that means – chocolate, Easter bunnies, frolicking lambs and that dreaded phrase – the one that should be banned – nest eggs. At this time of year, if you’re in personal debt, there’s probably nothing more annoying than this phrase, than the multitude of press articles that ask you to consider what to do with your nest egg, that remind you not to forget to take up your rights to an ISA and which trot out savings rates like financial diarrhoea.
The harsh reality for many of us is that you need to change one of the letters in ISA and make it IVA. If you don’t know what this is, because the media are too busy telling you about ISAs to ever mentions IVAs, it’s an Individual Voluntary Arrangement. This has nothing to do with community gardening or painting the village hall, but is all about someone with unmanageable and serious personal debts sorting their financial lives out, by getting back some degree of control over their debts and finding a way of paying their creditors what they agree to take in payment against the total amount of debt.
In effect, it’s a two-way compromise. The creditors look at the individual’s finances, see that they can never pay back what they owe in full and so agree to freeze the interest and agree to a much-reduced level of payment. The individual agrees to an expenditure regime that involves sacrifices, but which presents a real solution to getting out of personal debt once and for good.
But it’s more than that, as an IVA is a legally-binding document and it means that creditors stop calling, threatening, demanding and all those other verbs that you probably associate with them, if you have personal debts and are desperate to get rid of them.
It’s serious stuff and needs to be taken seriously – arranged by a debt expert who will put a proposal to the creditors of the people they are counselling. It takes skill, expertise and a knowledge of what will be accepted in most cases and what will not. That’s why it’s hardly even whispered by some debt advice institutions, as an IVA takes a lot of knowledge and, very often more importantly, a lot of time.
I’d bet my house (if I had one!) that in the run up to Easter you will read a multitude of stories about ISAs, but maybe one or two articles (in a best case scenario) about debt – which might just mention an IVA somewhere as an afterthought. So, if you know you don’t have a nest egg with which to solve your personal debt crisis, but are pretty sure you need a serious debt solution, don’t rely on the press to tell you about IVAs. Do some research yourself, speak to a debt adviser at Debt Free Direct and listen to what they have to say. Then you can spend your Easter break thinking things through and deciding what’s best for you, letting all those nest egg investors sort out what’s right for them!