Debt Free story

This isn't a diary as such, more of a story I wanted to share more for encouragement for anyone that may just be at the beginning, or indeed needing that little supporting hand to guide you over the line :smile:  

My debt came about as a result of divorce. At its highest in 2011 it stood at £54,638.14 with credit cards, bank accounts, school fees. The mortgage was fully up to date as were all essential bills. 

Since then, a new relationship, marriage, retirement, a new successful self employed business, a relocation to a new town in rental property and now we are just about to buy our first house together with a mortgage of just over £50,000. My credit report is now excellent with all of the defaults removed and a useless score of 997  :D

Looking back the initial debt was horrific though I was able to pay about £750 pm initially through Stepchange when I saw the light and entered into a debt management plan in the autumn of 2013. When those first defaults come in there's a massive sense of guilt and failure, but you soon learn to understand the process. Certainly the so called "listening bank" (NatWest) were only ever good for listening at increasing my debt. When it came to asking for serious help the door was shut in my face. I'll never use them again, despite personally being with them for 25+ years and family when they were called National Westminster. There is no loyalty in banking. If you think there is, wake up and smell the coffee!

Over time I negotiated all defaults with Barclaycard, Marks and Spencer, NatWest, MBNA and Lloyds to get the earliest possible date - just 3 months after the beginning of the DMP. It took MBNA/Link over a year to sort that but I did it :) The debts were transferred to debt agencies without fuss. Easy to deal with, perhaps easier than the high street organisations. 

I left Stepchange, negotiated a good percentage settlement with M&S and self managed the debt from them (about 3 years now). Recently with covid I decided to reduce payments from about £300 to all creditors to £50pm to the remaining 5. I could probably have afforded it but wanted to be safe in case it went on longer than 3 months!! Low and behold in September and November Cabot wrote twice on 2 debts (£6400, £8300) offering a massive 70% discount (£10,280) for a full and final payment. I didn't take it up, mainly due to wanting to hold onto the cash which I could have accessed, because of covid. I haven't been able to work during the lockdowns. However, now they have shown their hand, when it's time I will return. In the meantime they're still getting £10pm with "understanding" emails being sent :smile:

I have finally got round to sending CCA requests to see if any of my remaining debts are enforceable. I'll reply with the results when known. 

I hope this has offered encouragement to anyone looking for it. Yes, it isn't easy and I was in a job where I officially had to declare my debt. Not pleasant. But once you learn to live with it, your mindset will change on spending money you haven't got, it will get better. The pressure will go and a simpler, stress free life is attainable. 

So, almost there. Just need to finalise the purchase of the house and a move and then move onto the next chapter. If anyones interested I'll pop an update on as and when it comes in. 

Stay Safe everyone :)
Run for Life....

Comments

  • runforlife
    runforlife Posts: 443 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    My CCA replies are all back. 2 debts with Link Financial (MBNA and Barclaycard) and Cabot (Natwest x2). Neither have been able to provide a copy of the CCA. Interesting. Actually, I am really surprised. I would have thought they would have it really, but it appears that they have purchased the debts and not bothered to collect all the paperwork! Whilst both have said they are writing to the former creditors, lets see what happens. 
  • runforlife
    runforlife Posts: 443 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    edited 31 March 2021 at 7:52AM
    Tomorrow is the first day in over 6 years when I won’t be paying any payments to any debt collection agencies. Whilst there is still some debt remaining it would appear that currently none of it is enforceable. Once they prove it is, I will restart but I’m not concerned with it. 
    In other news our mortgage application has now been approved and we are just awaiting on our buyers for their final confirmation of their mortgage to enable the house purchase 😊
    Also last autumn I applied and took out a new credit card with Marbles to support rebuilding my credit worthiness and for occasional purchases where I would like a S.75 protection. It began with a £600 limit (far lower then the cards that got me into trouble in the first place) and I have made about 4 purchases which have all been repaid without interest. Yesterday they offered an increased limit to £1600 😂 I guess that my credit worthiness is improving. I don’t think I’ll take them up on it though. It’s not a limit I need. 
    Hopefully this thread helps others who are perhaps just beginning their debt resolution story that there is light at the end of every tunnel. 
  • runforlife
    runforlife Posts: 443 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Photogenic First Post
    Confirmation from Link that they can't supply the CCAs from 2 of my original creditors. Just waiting on Cabot to confirm either way now. 
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