Debt management plan

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Hi all. I’m new to this so hope you can help.

After being caught in a cycle of debt my whole adult life and it affecting my mental health for years I am finally considering taking out a debt management plan. I would appreciate some insight from anyone who’s been down this path. Is it a viable option?

My main worry is that I have an existing mortgage with my husband. Can I do a DMP without it affecting our existing mortgage? Its another 2 years before we have to renew.

I am also hoping a DMP will be an opportunity to stop having access to credit and to start addressing my pattern of behaviour and attitude to money. I have real, long standing  issues around it and can’t even talk to my husband - or anyone - about money. Can anyone recommend any counselling or has anyone any advice on this? I just want to get my life back 
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  • Suseka97
    Suseka97 Posts: 1,562 Forumite
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    I would suggest you have a chat with one of the debt charities, such as Stepchange or National Debtline - to talk through your situation.  Depending on how much you owe and what your financial position is - there are various options out there, including DMPs.  If you head over to the DMP Mutual Support Thread, that will give you lots of insight into the process and people's experiences.  It's definitely worth a read if that's what you ultimately decide to do (after having taken advice).

    As for your mortgage - well, it is likely to have an impact when it comes to remortgaging, because by then you will undoubtedly have various adverse markers on your credit file and lenders have access to that information.  Now, all that means in reality is that you may struggle to move lenders but you shouldn't have any issues if you remortgage with your current provider.  I was in a DMP and moved onto a new fixed rate deal with my lender without any issues.  When you remortgage with your lender but don't look to borrow more or change the length (term) of your mortgage they tend not to carry out any searches on your credit file.  If however you look to borrow more, change lender, or change the term - that's when 'searches' come into play and that's where you would struggle.  With that said, there are mortgage brokers out there who can help people who have adverse credit markers, so it's not entirely off the table - have a read of the 'Mortgage Broker - ask me anything' thread on the Mortgage and Endowments board, there are a number of posters who ask questions about the likelihood of getting mortgages with adverse credit.

    Overall its best to be fully informed on all your options - knowledge is power (so they say).  I can't help with the counselling side of things, but congratulate you on trying to get on top of this and I wish you luck :) 
  • hedboo
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    Thank you so much for your response. That really is very, very helpful to me. Much appreciated. I shall start looking a those other threads. It really helps to know others have been through what I’m experiencing and have come out the other side. x
  • fatbelly
    fatbelly Posts: 20,659 Forumite
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    Good advice above. Stepchange and Payplan do dmps without charging a fee. National debtline give reliable free advice without having a product to sell.

    You can always post back here if you want to check what you are being advised.

    Another option - and I don't give them a mention often  because they are not for everyone - is Christians against Poverty. Their website will tell you what is available in your area. They would be very good on the 'changing your attitude' side and tend to give more time to fewer clients than the others. 
  • sourcrates
    sourcrates Posts: 28,974 Ambassador
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    hedboo said:
    Thank you so much for your response. That really is very, very helpful to me. Much appreciated. I shall start looking a those other threads. It really helps to know others have been through what I’m experiencing and have come out the other side. x
    The default rate on consumer debt, for the first quarter of this year, was 22.9%.
    Usually its around the 11-15% mark, no figures yet for the rest of this year, but i`d expect to see that figure rise.
    So almost a quarter of credit agreements were defaulted on, so you are far from being alone.
    If you have an asset such as a house, then your debt repayment option`s are limited to either debt management or an IVA, personal circumstances dictate which would be more appropriate, you don`t mention your debt level, so as a rule of thumb, (circumstance dependant) under 25k possible DMP, over this amount it gets more serious, and an IVA would be more suitable, for large amounts of debt.
    I’m a Forum Ambassador and I support the Forum Team on the Debt free wannabe, Credit file and ratings, and Bankruptcy and living with it boards. If you need any help on these boards, do let me know. Please note that Ambassadors are not moderators. Any posts you spot in breach of the Forum Rules should be reported via the report button, or by emailing forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. All views are my own and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.For free non-judgemental debt advice, contact either Stepchange, National Debtline, or CitizensAdviceBureaux.Link to SOA Calculator- https://www.stoozing.com/soa.php The "provit letter" is here-https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/2607247/letter-when-you-know-nothing-about-about-the-debt-aka-prove-it-letter
  • hedboo
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    Thank you. It’s just over £15k. (You don’t know how hard that was to write! I am super secretive about it - nobody would ever know- not even my husband) it’s been higher - it’s been much lower and settled altogether many times 😩 but I am just completely exhausted by the cycle I find myself in. I’ll be sensible and organised with my funds (I consider myself well paid and successful on paper!!) but then I’ll hit a bump in the road (car repairs or unexpected expense) and it spirals out of control. Some people are emotional eaters - I feel I do the same with spending 😢 

    I was advised by Consolidation Express on Friday that a DMP would be the best option for me. They gave good advice but I was most anxious about whether I could put the majority of my debts on the DMP whilst keeping my mortgage and overdraft with Barclays. They said I’d be able to choose which debts I put on the DMP - is that correct? 
  • warby68
    warby68 Posts: 3,034 Forumite
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    A DMP is possible, its an informal arrangement.
    Overdrafts are not a good form of borrowing, hard to control, expensive and can be withdrawn at almost any time. A small standby preferably free amount can be useful for 'blips' though.
    However, you have said you are well paid and your debt problems are from loss of control. It may well be that you don't need any form of debt management, just encouragement to sort yourself out and pay it down yourself. The advantage of that is less and possibly no impact on your credit history.
    You can get help here with your budget if you want to. It means you open your spending to scrutiny but remember this is just an anonymous forum so it isn't personal. Lots of people who have been in similar positions offer advice. If you have a partner or family its better if its the whole budget but plenty of people just do this individually as long as its clear what your commitments are to joint/family expenses.
  • barbiedoll
    barbiedoll Posts: 5,326 Forumite
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    Hello hedboo. I've never heard of Consolidation Express, but a quick google shows them to be a company which offers loans to help you to pay off your existing debts. This, as almost everyone on here will tell you, is a really, really bad idea!

    You really need to get out of that mindset of constantly borrowing money. 15k is a big number, no doubt about it, BUT....it can be dealt with, I promise you. When I joined this site, many years ago, we had debts of over 30k. Our lifestyle hasn't changed much, but our way of dealing with money most definitely has. Society has taught us that if we want something "now", we can have it "now", and we can always pay for it later. Us seasoned Moneysavers understand that you can't always have it now, and you quite possibly don't need it anyway. Martin's mantra is always: "Do I want it or do I need it?"....wise words that have saved many of us from buying yet another handbag (want), which means that we have the spare cash to fix the car (need). Spending money that you don't have is just another addiction, as always, recognising the problem is half the battle.

    Please, please don't go down the consolidation route. You will just end up with a larger debt, and I can guarantee that you will be paying out more money each month with less to show for it. Speak to Stepchange (we have our DMP with them) or Payplan. Neither of these will lend you any money, but they will help you to pay off your existing debts, and will hold your hand on your journey towards a debt-free life. I'm not going to pretend that it's easy, you'll have to write letters, you won't be getting any more credit for a few years, and you're going to have to be disciplined with yourself. But, you'll sleep better at night, you'll feel a tremendous sense of achievement when you can pay off a repair bill without having to use a credit card, and you' ll be changing your life for the better. I've been there and I've done it, as have so many on here.

    Take a deep breath this morning, fill in the SOA and tell us where your money is going. You'll get loads of help on here, some suggestions you may not like, but others will take you by surprise, you'll be shocked at how small changes can make a big difference. You can do this but not by going to yet another lender.
    "I may be many things but not being indiscreet isn't one of them"
  • hedboo
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    Thank you - I appreciate the advice but, no -  I’m not actually getting a loan with them.  I responded to their social media post about debt advice and am talking to them about a Debt Management Plan. It’s loans and cards that’s got me into this mess so fortunately, I can guarantee that I wouldn’t go there again. I’ve spoken to Step Change in the past but the reason I want to go with an actual management company rather than managing it myself is that my mental health has been suffering with all this and I feel I would benefit from someone else managing it for me. I just want to do my homework before deciding who to go with. 
  • hedboo
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    Would Payplan or Step Change actually be able to manage it for me? I got the impression that SC would be self managed - though it’s a long time since I spoke to them. x
  • warby68
    warby68 Posts: 3,034 Forumite
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    edited 29 November 2020 at 10:07AM
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    StepChange manage for you.
    A company selling something WILL have a different agenda, even if its just fees for managing.
    Its a very important distinction.

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