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  • FIRST POST
    • sentientpoet
    • By sentientpoet 20th Dec 16, 8:19 PM
    • 49Posts
    • 376Thanks
    sentientpoet
    11 years a slave - end of my journey from £103,500 in debt
    • #1
    • 20th Dec 16, 8:19 PM
    11 years a slave - end of my journey from £103,500 in debt 20th Dec 16 at 8:19 PM
    Hello fellow DFWs. It has been a long time since I posted here, but today has been such a momentous day that I felt compelled to write something. Apologies in advance for the long post.

    Today I made the very last payment to the very last of my creditors. Itís the culmination of an 11-year debt management plan journey, during which I have paid back £103,500 of unsecured personal debt. Just looking at that figure now shocks me to the core.

    There is no smugness in this post. It was my own blindness and stupidity that led me into one gigantic spasm of a mess in the first place. This is simply a post to say that no matter how hard it seems, no matter how big a mountain you think you have to climb, no matter how far away your goal appears to be, you will get there if you stick with it. I am living proof.

    Itís also a post to say thank you to the people running my DMP all these years, and in particular to the members of the DFW forum for the words of wisdom, advice and encouragement so often posted here. Itís sometimes not expressed just how much of an impact your advice has on the more silent forumites among us, but Iím here today to say my journey would have been so much harder without you all.

    I wonít recap in detail the circumstances that led to my debt, but it basically it involved living in London beyond my means on a modest salary, a misguided attempt to work for myself, and an awful lot of easy credit. At the end of 2005, having sold my flat, car and nearly everything I owned, this was my statement of affairs:

    Income: £0
    Net assets: £0
    Unsecured personal debt: £103,500 across credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts.
    Ten accounts in default.
    Three CCJs.
    One complete idiot.

    Oh <insert expletives here>! It was the mother of all wake-up calls.

    PayPlan (who have been unfailingly non-judgemental and supportive throughout) quickly put me at ease and calmly presented me with the options. IVA? Bankruptcy? DMP?

    I vowed I would do whatever it took to pay back every penny owed (frozen interest notwithstanding) and opted for the DMP, so I went out and talked my way into a new job. It wasnít ideal and the salary was awful, but it had to be done. My DMP started, with modest monthly payments, in February 2006. The original debt-free date was something like October 2021. I thought I would never, ever, ever get there Ė it felt like a lifetime away.

    But I never took my eyes of that goal and I stuck with it, battling through a decade of seeing my income stripped to the bone, month in, month out, year in, year out. I worked hard, and managed to land a job I actually wanted. I worked my way up the ladder, and took on any extra work as I was able.

    The years ticked by and yes, I had some major hiccups along the way. I got divorced very amicably, for reasons other than my debt, and then nearly fell into a hellish payday loan spiral while trying to Ďlive a littleí after so long on the DMP. It took a wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat night and the realisation that I had just pointlessly added nine months to my DMP to get me back on track.

    Finally I just accepted the monthly routine, found ways to save money here and there, and sought out ways to live a little that cost a little less. I learnt how to say Ďnoí a little more often. I got to know myself a little better. I invested in a copy of You Need A Budget on the advice of these forums, and found that made things a little easier. If I wanted something, I started saving what little I could for it rather than trying to borrow. And little by little my Debt Free Date crawled nearer.

    Which brings me to today. At 7:48pm I paid off the last of the debt in full, and for the first time in my adult life I owe absolutely nothing to anyone. The CCJs are gone and my credit file is clean. I own outright a nice car and a few other bits Ė all carefully budgeted for Ė and not much else except a small, positive bank balance and a sudden, overwhelming sense of freedom.

    If youíve read this far, then hopefully you will be able to take something from my journey that may help you with your own. It has been ***ing hard at times, make no mistake. But here are a few words of advice from two decades of debt and more than a decade of DMP slavery:

    - Donít hide from your debt. It will only get worse. Talk to your creditors, talk to a specialist or ask on these forums for advice. You will also find that just taking control will make you feel 100 per cent better.

    - No matter how bad you think your situation is, there is always a way out.

    - Donít pay someone to manage your debt. Do it yourself, or talk to one of the excellent free organisations like PayPlan or National Debtline.

    - Budget, budget, budget. Make a realistic budget and try to stick to it. That doesnít mean you canít have money for lifeís little luxuries Ė just budget for them.

    - Donít let creditors bully you into making larger payments at the expense of being able to survive. If you are realistic with your DMP budget no one will force you to pay back more than you can afford - not even the courts.

    - Starting your debt-free journey can feel like someone has asked you to empty a lake with a teaspoon. Just focus on the teaspoon. You wonít notice the lake going down from one month to the next, but one day you will look up and see thereís just a pond left, then a puddle, and then suddenly nothing but dust.

    - Bookmark MSE and the DFW forum. Actually, this should be number one on the list

    - If you feel yourself slipping, remember the goal and donít give in to temptation. Play the long game and learn to say no. One day youíll be so glad you did.

    - And finally, when journeyís end seems so far away that you just want to sit down and give up, remember the idiot on MSE who ran up £103,500 of unsecured debt and spent 11 years of his life paying it back. Heís smiling as he writes this. Youíll be smiling again one day too and it will be the best feeling in the world.

    Merry Christmas

    Sentient

    Apologies for any mixed metaphors. Iím finding it hard to concentrate this evening for some reason
Page 3
    • dewdropsandsunshine
    • By dewdropsandsunshine 22nd Dec 16, 12:04 PM
    • 17 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    dewdropsandsunshine
    Fantastic!

    Thank you for sharing your amazing achievement with us
    • dktreesea
    • By dktreesea 22nd Dec 16, 4:20 PM
    • 5,553 Posts
    • 8,663 Thanks
    dktreesea
    Awesome. What a great post! Soon, very soon, in fact, that is going to be me, completely debt free after just on 12 years. I can't wait. Just the idea that we'll actually own 100% of our business. For sure, when I embarked on this journey I did not think it would have taken 12 years to get to this point.


    Thanks So Much for sharing your experience.
    Last edited by dktreesea; 22-12-2016 at 4:39 PM.
    • Ali-G-
    • By Ali-G- 22nd Dec 16, 8:13 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 18 Thanks
    Ali-G-
    Oh wow, that's so inspiring! I bet that feels amazing.
    • SnowL
    • By SnowL 22nd Dec 16, 10:25 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 77 Thanks
    SnowL
    Massive congratulations to you. Inspirational
    • bubbs
    • By bubbs 22nd Dec 16, 10:46 PM
    • 47,816 Posts
    • 560,493 Thanks
    bubbs
    Many Many Congratulations, FANTASTIC
    Merry Christmas to you
    Sealed pot challenge number 242 £350 for 2015, 2016 £400 Actual£345, £400 for 2017
    Stopped Smoking 22/01/15

    -2 stone 8 1/2 lb week 13
    • Bobarella
    • By Bobarella 22nd Dec 16, 11:43 PM
    • 10,623 Posts
    • 68,502 Thanks
    Bobarella
    Well done feels too little to say to such a huge achievement!
    " Your vibe attracts your tribe"

    Debt neutral 27/03/17 from £40k in the hole 2012.
    Roadkill 17 £54.82 2016-£62.28 2015- £84.20)
    RYSAW17 £1855 2016 £2,535.16 2015 £1027.20
    • Serendipitious
    • By Serendipitious 23rd Dec 16, 9:35 AM
    • 4,512 Posts
    • 47,741 Thanks
    Serendipitious
    This is amazing!

    Truly an inspiration.

    ďAll shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.Ē

    June grocery 55.10


    • HILLBERN
    • By HILLBERN 23rd Dec 16, 12:48 PM
    • 2,218 Posts
    • 24,780 Thanks
    HILLBERN
    Hello fellow DFWs. It has been a long time since I posted here, but today has been such a momentous day that I felt compelled to write something. Apologies in advance for the long post.

    Today I made the very last payment to the very last of my creditors. Itís the culmination of an 11-year debt management plan journey, during which I have paid back £103,500 of unsecured personal debt. Just looking at that figure now shocks me to the core.

    There is no smugness in this post. It was my own blindness and stupidity that led me into one gigantic spasm of a mess in the first place. This is simply a post to say that no matter how hard it seems, no matter how big a mountain you think you have to climb, no matter how far away your goal appears to be, you will get there if you stick with it. I am living proof.

    Itís also a post to say thank you to the people running my DMP all these years, and in particular to the members of the DFW forum for the words of wisdom, advice and encouragement so often posted here. Itís sometimes not expressed just how much of an impact your advice has on the more silent forumites among us, but Iím here today to say my journey would have been so much harder without you all.

    I wonít recap in detail the circumstances that led to my debt, but it basically it involved living in London beyond my means on a modest salary, a misguided attempt to work for myself, and an awful lot of easy credit. At the end of 2005, having sold my flat, car and nearly everything I owned, this was my statement of affairs:

    Income: £0
    Net assets: £0
    Unsecured personal debt: £103,500 across credit cards, personal loans and overdrafts.
    Ten accounts in default.
    Three CCJs.
    One complete idiot.

    Oh <insert expletives here>! It was the mother of all wake-up calls.

    PayPlan (who have been unfailingly non-judgemental and supportive throughout) quickly put me at ease and calmly presented me with the options. IVA? Bankruptcy? DMP?

    I vowed I would do whatever it took to pay back every penny owed (frozen interest notwithstanding) and opted for the DMP, so I went out and talked my way into a new job. It wasnít ideal and the salary was awful, but it had to be done. My DMP started, with modest monthly payments, in February 2006. The original debt-free date was something like October 2021. I thought I would never, ever, ever get there Ė it felt like a lifetime away.

    But I never took my eyes of that goal and I stuck with it, battling through a decade of seeing my income stripped to the bone, month in, month out, year in, year out. I worked hard, and managed to land a job I actually wanted. I worked my way up the ladder, and took on any extra work as I was able.

    The years ticked by and yes, I had some major hiccups along the way. I got divorced very amicably, for reasons other than my debt, and then nearly fell into a hellish payday loan spiral while trying to Ďlive a littleí after so long on the DMP. It took a wake-up-in-a-cold-sweat night and the realisation that I had just pointlessly added nine months to my DMP to get me back on track.

    Finally I just accepted the monthly routine, found ways to save money here and there, and sought out ways to live a little that cost a little less. I learnt how to say Ďnoí a little more often. I got to know myself a little better. I invested in a copy of You Need A Budget on the advice of these forums, and found that made things a little easier. If I wanted something, I started saving what little I could for it rather than trying to borrow. And little by little my Debt Free Date crawled nearer.

    Which brings me to today. At 7:48pm I paid off the last of the debt in full, and for the first time in my adult life I owe absolutely nothing to anyone. The CCJs are gone and my credit file is clean. I own outright a nice car and a few other bits Ė all carefully budgeted for Ė and not much else except a small, positive bank balance and a sudden, overwhelming sense of freedom.

    If youíve read this far, then hopefully you will be able to take something from my journey that may help you with your own. It has been ***ing hard at times, make no mistake. But here are a few words of advice from two decades of debt and more than a decade of DMP slavery:

    - Donít hide from your debt. It will only get worse. Talk to your creditors, talk to a specialist or ask on these forums for advice. You will also find that just taking control will make you feel 100 per cent better.

    - No matter how bad you think your situation is, there is always a way out.

    - Donít pay someone to manage your debt. Do it yourself, or talk to one of the excellent free organisations like PayPlan or National Debtline.

    - Budget, budget, budget. Make a realistic budget and try to stick to it. That doesnít mean you canít have money for lifeís little luxuries Ė just budget for them.

    - Donít let creditors bully you into making larger payments at the expense of being able to survive. If you are realistic with your DMP budget no one will force you to pay back more than you can afford - not even the courts.

    - Starting your debt-free journey can feel like someone has asked you to empty a lake with a teaspoon. Just focus on the teaspoon. You wonít notice the lake going down from one month to the next, but one day you will look up and see thereís just a pond left, then a puddle, and then suddenly nothing but dust.

    - Bookmark MSE and the DFW forum. Actually, this should be number one on the list

    - If you feel yourself slipping, remember the goal and donít give in to temptation. Play the long game and learn to say no. One day youíll be so glad you did.

    - And finally, when journeyís end seems so far away that you just want to sit down and give up, remember the idiot on MSE who ran up £103,500 of unsecured debt and spent 11 years of his life paying it back. Heís smiling as he writes this. Youíll be smiling again one day too and it will be the best feeling in the world.

    Merry Christmas

    Sentient

    Apologies for any mixed metaphors. Iím finding it hard to concentrate this evening for some reason
    Originally posted by sentientpoet
    Well done - Im always saying there are several hurdles to jump sometime you fall but you have to get up and try again.that is life but as you say you are proof that by keeping going you do get there in the end.
    Heres hoping you have a wonderful debt free Christmas
    • BJV
    • By BJV 23rd Dec 16, 1:06 PM
    • 2,165 Posts
    • 3,277 Thanks
    BJV
    I think that everyone has already said the fab's well done etc far better than I could.

    For me personally I think the reason that your post will touch so many people is that you did not hide, you did not try to find ways to get out of things or fiddle the systems. You did not want something for nothing.

    Instead you stood up, took control and responsibility and sorted it out.

    As one post said I think if we where all a little more like this our fab country would be so much better.

    I really hope that you manage to get your safety pot and then the house. But in the mean time, enjoy it you have worked hard and I sincerely hope that you can reap the rewards.

    Good luck, happy Christmas and thank you for inspiring so many of us.x
    Happiness, Health and Wealth in that order please!
    • Deadbeat
    • By Deadbeat 23rd Dec 16, 2:02 PM
    • 122 Posts
    • 141 Thanks
    Deadbeat
    Have another upvote. That was incredible to read. Well done!
    • teddyclown
    • By teddyclown 23rd Dec 16, 3:33 PM
    • 21 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    teddyclown
    Inspirational...definitely
    You've brought me out of lurkdom! I seldom post, but frequently read and lurk. What an inspirational post - it just gives hope to all of us in debt. There is most definitely a light at the end of the tunnel!
    Best wishes,
    Trisha
    • Flugelhorn
    • By Flugelhorn 23rd Dec 16, 3:44 PM
    • 573 Posts
    • 783 Thanks
    Flugelhorn
    I am the 103rd to thank you ! One for every £1,000 of debt you have magnificently beaten
    • amazonian17
    • By amazonian17 26th Dec 16, 10:52 AM
    • 94 Posts
    • 59 Thanks
    amazonian17
    Usually just a lurker, but wanted to say Congratulations Sentient!

    You truly are an inspiration.

    Thank you for the encouraging post - you should be so proud that you were determined to pay it all off.
    • PoorGuyNextDoor
    • By PoorGuyNextDoor 26th Dec 16, 5:10 PM
    • 131 Posts
    • 343 Thanks
    PoorGuyNextDoor
    Feel very inspired to see away my £50k now having seen this!! Well done you and a happy Xmas!!!!!
    • Wimbrel
    • By Wimbrel 26th Dec 16, 8:49 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 153 Thanks
    Wimbrel
    That's amazing, brilliant and wonderful! Huge congratulations!
    Jan 2012 debts £43,237 . Feb 2017 debts £1270 Jan 2012 emergency fund £0.00 2017 June 2017 savings £14,456. . Getting there!
    • misselvis
    • By misselvis 26th Dec 16, 9:07 PM
    • 280 Posts
    • 748 Thanks
    misselvis
    Thanks for the honest sharing what an accomplishment
    misselvis proud and in motion - dealing with her debts step by step DFW #107
    challenge pay off 6.5k by the end of 2017~ £388/£6500 challenge 1% challenge = 6% of debt cleared; challenge - build up 3 months emergency fund- £0/£6000
    • another casualty
    • By another casualty 26th Dec 16, 10:22 PM
    • 2,575 Posts
    • 3,973 Thanks
    another casualty
    Fantastic post! Jaw dropping achievements ! Brilliant stuff!
    Really pleased for you .
    • erin_transport
    • By erin_transport 26th Dec 16, 11:01 PM
    • 185 Posts
    • 911 Thanks
    erin_transport
    Well done!! What a journey! Very inspirational and uplifting
    • fozziebeartoo
    • By fozziebeartoo 27th Dec 16, 6:39 PM
    • 1,493 Posts
    • 12,463 Thanks
    fozziebeartoo
    What an achievement!!


    SW 46lb/10 lb
    • hazeldreams
    • By hazeldreams 4th Jan 17, 9:16 PM
    • 210 Posts
    • 374 Thanks
    hazeldreams
    My word...your words resonate so strongly with us! Almost as much of a debt mountain to climb, same expensive tastes and compulsions...and you've succeeded in achieving debt freedom! Huge congratulations! You're a total inspiration to us and have filled me with hope and optimism that one day we'll be in your position too. I too, absolutely love your metaphor of the teaspoon and the lake...that's exactly how we feel most of the time.


    Will e focussing very much on that teaspoon this month. Thanks so much for sharing Sentient!
    £40,156.88 /£75,146.41(start 1/9/14) 53.4% paid off
    £34,989.53 left to go
    DFD target February 2018 July 2019
    May Challenges: NSDs 0/16; Groceries £0/£400
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