BR experience

edited 24 April 2020 at 7:41PM in Bankruptcy & Living With It
10 replies 462 views
parrot23parrot23 Forumite
15 Posts
10 Posts
edited 24 April 2020 at 7:41PM in Bankruptcy & Living With It

I wanted to come on here to share a few things from my own personal bankruptcy journey, in the hope it will help many others out there now and for years to come as this forum did to help me.

I went bankrupt in March of this year and now 2 months on, hand on my heart I can truly say it was the best thing I could ever have done. It was also the scariest, most darkest period of my life from new year to February as I realised what I needed to do. The anxiety, stress, the thoughts of goodness knows what- I promise you, I have been there - consumed me more than I could ever say. 

But like so many posts I read and searched on here saying if people had known “how better life would be they would have done it sooner” or they “wouldn’t have been as scared before” - I completely agree with them a million times over. Please do not be scared. I personally have never experienced panic attacks like it, they would come for me as a wave in the shower, driving to work, at work, in night terrors and because no one knew my situation, it made it even worse. I felt so alone and in a very bad place.

My debt at the time of bankruptcy was in the region of £40,000 and was down to years of recklessness with money. I know it sounds irresponsible but once you begin to live beyond your means, transferring balances to loans and cards it becomes a way of life - at least it did for me. Credit stupidly allowed me to fund a lifestyle for my children which I never had as a child, and at the point of going bankrupt I should really have been living more comfortably financially than ever. However, because of the lie I had lived for years, the reality meant I was instead repaying almost £1500 in minimum payments per month, bouncing rent and shopping against whatever I could and I simply had no where to turn. The vicious cycle had no end in sight and I had no disposable income whatsoever.

I initially researched debt management plans or an IVA to solve my problem and provide some relief. But then after looking and reading, another option was bankruptcy. I will never forget the feeling thinking ‘oh my god I can’t do that’, it sounded drastic, like the nuclear explosion to my debt. But I couldn’t carry on as I was. The more I searched this forum and took advice from other sites such debt camel, bankruptcy expert, and the gov guides on bankruptcy and the myths buster, I started to realise it was another debt solution and it really would enable a fresh start. Seriously, everything you could ever think of to do with bankruptcy over 6 weeks I must have googled. I truly was at rock bottom and it was all down to myself.

On 31st January after almost 5 solid weeks of research, I made the decision to begin my bankruptcy. This was my lowest day, I had a job interview which I cannot remember driving to or really participating in.

I opened a co op basic account, made list upon lists of bills i needed to change of payments and direct debits and so forth. Any time I panicked or thought of something else I would write it down to google that night. It felt surreal and I was petrified, the only thing keeping me going truly was this forum. People posting they had ‘hit the submit button’, that they had made it through.

My time came early in March when  I felt everything was ready. I missed my March payments to my creditors, paid my BR fee with it and kept the remainder incase I needed it. I sent off my application at around 10pm barely breathing as I did so and was declared bankrupt at 2pm the following day. Opening that email I was sweating, shaking, light headed. I didn’t feel relief initially I felt like ‘oh [email protected]&t it’s really done’ ‘what have I done’ ‘oh god this is it’. 

But in reality it was over. From that moment you really can look forward to rebuild and start afresh. You are free.

The next milestone would be talking to the OR, who phoned at tea time the next day. Once more, I thought I would black out on the phone but she was so nice - almost too nice. They have a job to do but they understand, she even asked me if I had missed anything off my expenditure form. I think when you are used to living with debt for so long you are overwhelmed each month finding minimum payments, that you actually lose touch with what a normal living expense can actually be. 

With regards to creditors, where I only missed one payment the letters and calls were never too extreme. I feel people need to understand that you don’t need to be at the point of debt collectors and bailiffs - BR is another debt solution and in my opinion should be used more should circumstances allow. I had no assets and an old car. For the amount of debt I had, I really sadly had nothing to show for it. The calls did begin to come thick and fast at about 2 weeks after, but by the first month post BR most had stopped. I’ve had 2 persistent creditors, however both I have picked up the phone to in the last week, given them my BR reference and I’ve heard nothing since. 

It’s a weird feeling now, a clean slate to write, and although I have a small IPA , it is nothing compared to what I was paying out per month, and I have started to feel like a person I was many years ago before I discovered credit - which is amazing in itself!

I’ve learnt the hard way. For so long debt consumed my every breath, my every google, my night sweats and my thoughts. I want to help others who find theirselves in this predicament to know they too can get through it. 

You’re never alone, although right now if you find yourself in a place where myself and many others have been, it will feel like the loneliest place in the world. Please just know you will be ok and there is a life after debt. Bankruptcy on the outside can look and sound so scary. Even when the letters from the insolvency team land on the doorstep looking so formal they can take your breath away. But long term it is a clean slate and a new chapter - A year of bankruptcy and then discharge. For me it is a little longer whilst my IPA is paid but certainly not the life sentence I felt I was daily being punished for and would be forever more.

It is a life lesson I will take to my grave, but not before I make sure my children live within their means and forever only buy what they can save to or afford.

If this helps just one person contemplating BR I will be happy. Just like all those before who helped me. If you are one of those people right now - don’t let it eat away at your anxiety for months on end before you do it because a healthy, debt and credit free life is out there. 

Learn from your mistakes, click submit and go chase it. :)

Replies

  • george_112george_112 Forumite
    123 Posts
    10 Posts First Anniversary
    Thank you, I will be pressing submit next week and missed my first creditor payment today to pay towards the fee. I feel so scared but hopefully this will give me a fresh start and the ability to sleep again
  • desktopdesktop Forumite
    65 Posts
    10 Posts First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I agree with everything parrot23 said.  I was declared bankrupt in March too and the weight off my shoulders is unreal.  It's the best decision I've made in the last few years!
  • sxcizme3010sxcizme3010 Forumite
    262 Posts
    Sixth Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭
    I didnt go bankrupt but I entered into an IVA as I own a property. Iv been in it 1 year now and this year has been the first year I have felt normal. No more juggling debts, paying min payments and using the available credit to pay for the shopping etc. Looking back I dont know how we got into that mess. 
  • louisefinchuk74louisefinchuk74 Forumite
    4 Posts
    First Anniversary First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I so glad I have found this post It has been a big help to me.
    I have just submitted my Bankruptcy application today  feel sick scared but this is the only way I can solve the mess I am in.
    Good luck for the future.

    Louise 
  • Flora_McDoraFlora_McDora Forumite
    39 Posts
    10 Posts Second Anniversary
    I have just read your post and cried - my circumstances are very similar to yours and it is a great relief to not feel alone. I'm in the process of looking at my SOA and hope to finally take the plunge soon.
    Thank you and take care in these difficult times
    Flora x
  • parrot23parrot23 Forumite
    15 Posts
    10 Posts
    Thankyou all. You can do this too ☺️ take care xx
  • SamirishSamirish Forumite
    28 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary 10 Posts Photogenic
    This Forum has been a godsend, and your post inspirational.  I went BR in Feb this year and my quality of life has been all the better for it!  I sleep soundly and wake refreshed, the knots which used to constantly bind my chest...a distant memory. My finances are kept in check and a budget sheet is now my best friend, I cannot begin to express how relieved I am that I made the (very difficult) decision to go BR.  If you are in any doubt whether to take this step just read through this Forum and take strength from all the inspirational people. 
  • AdamantaAdamanta Forumite
    12 Posts
    Third Anniversary 10 Posts
    Hi, BR was the best decision I made in the last 15 years. :-) 
    I had almost 50K debts from gambling addiction of ex-husband. This wiped all of that. With my income it meant I had to have IPA, but I was lucky enough to be in position to pay it off early (Dad given money, OR agreed to the proposal). Since then I had substantial payrise, nearly 5k available credit (zero balance, pay it off immediately) :-) Also, planning to get on a property ladder in couple of years time. 
    I went bankrupt in summer 2018. 
    Also, I must say that I was lucky to have absolutely brilliant OR. Very professional, approachable and understanding. I had difficult situation early into my BR, where my expenditures shot up, just 1 email to OR, i was allowed to keep the income tax and council tax money as long as required. And once I was out of the woods, I continued making payments. 
  • parrot23parrot23 Forumite
    15 Posts
    10 Posts
    Samirish said:
    This Forum has been a godsend, and your post inspirational.  I went BR in Feb this year and my quality of life has been all the better for it!  I sleep soundly and wake refreshed, the knots which used to constantly bind my chest...a distant memory. My finances are kept in check and a budget sheet is now my best friend, I cannot begin to express how relieved I am that I made the (very difficult) decision to go BR.  If you are in any doubt whether to take this step just read through this Forum and take strength from all the inspirational people. 
    Samirish - I remember well yourself and a few others posting a lot January / February time. I followed these threads and they gave me a lot of support during that time! Thankyou.
  • beckmarybeckmary Forumite
    12 Posts
    First Anniversary First Post
    I have only just come out of BR. I can honestly say, this forum and my local CAB have been God sends.
    The past 6 years have been  traumatic to say the least- I haven't had a proper job for long or had a holiday. But I had to pay for the reckless spending of my bullying partner.
    I had considered IVAs, DMPs etc, but a close friend had a very bad experience, such as paying a company for 1 year- but they did not pass on the money to clearing the debt.
    I went BR with debts of about £30k, but now have a clean slate. I still can't buy things on Klarna, but I get no hassle from any creditors and can sleep through the night.
    Good luck to anyone going BR, and thanks to the OP for your inspiring story
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