Archive for April, 2012
By Sheena Fletcher from NHS Inform in Scotland.
Money worries such as redundancy and debt can really affect your mental wellbeing but it’s important to remember that feeling low or anxious in times of financial instability is a normal response to a stressful situation.
Many people ‘bottle things up’ and try to cope with financial stress alone, but you don’t have to deal with things on your own. Discussing worries with friends or family can help you to feel better, but if you feel this isn’t for you, there are helplines where you can talk about how your financial situation is making you feel. Getting practical help to manage your finances better and improve your situation is very important, but don’t forget to look after your mental health too.
There are simple things you can do to help maintain your mental wellbeing in times of financial stress and uncertainty:
- Take the time to look after yourself properly – get enough sleep and eat sensibly
- Try to avoid drinking alcohol excessively. Excessive drinking is an ineffective and expensive way to deal with difficult feelings.
- Keeping physically active can also help to boost your mood and it doesn’t have to cost a penny – take a walk outside in the fresh air or play football or frisbee with friends in the park.
The Money Worries section of the Mental Health and Wellbeing zone on the NHS inform website has lots of useful information, as well as signposting to helplines, online resources and organisations who can help you talk through your feelings, get back in control of your situation and look forward to a happier future.
NHS inform is the Scottish national health information service. We provide a single source of quality assured health and wellbeing information for the public in Scotland.
When you are in debt and beginning to struggle with the repayments, you may find that your creditor(s) increase their communication with you. At Payplan we hear a lot of people say that they are unable to cope with the constant contact from their creditors or they don’t know how they should be dealing with them.
This blog is going to look at ways in which you could deal with your creditor(s) to make the repayment process as stress free as possible.
When you take out credit, whether a credit card, store card, overdraft or loan, you sign a credit agreement to say that you will maintain contractual payments towards what you borrow until it has been paid in full.
Creditors are aware that unforeseen circumstances occur; such as redundancy, illness or additional expense. If something happens and you suddenly find yourself unable to make your monthly payments, it is extremely important to contact your creditor(s) as soon as possible to inform them. By doing this you can discuss with them how you are going to proceed with future payments. If your situation is going to last longer than one month, to avoid your creditor(s) pursuing legal action against you, you should come to an agreement to make reduced payments until you find yourself in a better position.
Most high street lenders have the capability to deal with customers that are in financial difficulty, so by speaking with them you could get advice on how to deal with your debts. Payplan have a good relationship with a lot of these lenders, and they often direct their customers to us for free to client debt advice.
As well as maintaining contact with your creditors it is important to maintain some form of payment to them. We would usually recommend our client send in whatever they can reasonably afford.
To conclude, when you find yourself in financial difficulty it is always recommended that you keep in contact with your creditor(s) at all times and to maintain small payments.
For some people, Bankruptcy is the best solution to help deal with their financial problems. For those that fit the Bankruptcy criteria, the process can seem long and, sometimes, confusing.
With the correct guidance the process can be a lot less stressful, so here is a brief guide to help you understand the process.
The first part to the process is to locate your local County Court and contact them to request an application form. You would also need to confirm with them the court fee. To locate your county court, you can either look up under Courts in the phone book or visit http://hmctscourtfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/ to find your nearest court. You can also visit http://www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/About-us/forms/england-and-wales to download the forms, they are forms 6.27 and 6.28
Once you have received your application form you will need to make an appointment to attend court. You would always need to attend court in person as you will need to present your completed forms to the judge. Whilst at the court you will be required to make your payment for Bankruptcy including court fee and an administration fee.
Once you have attended court, you will then be assigned an Official Receiver. Your Official Receiver or OR will then work with you to determine how long Bankruptcy will last, how much your contributions will be and how much your assets are worth.
For more information about what Bankruptcy is then please click here or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
Depending on a person’s age or background they may have a very different view and opinion of debt, but it is apparent there is still a stigma attached to it.
At first glance it would appear that some members of older generations are opposed to taking out credit, whiles others believe it is ok to borrow but it must be paid back. Payplan have dealt with clients in the past who could have declared themselves bankrupt, as this was a suitable option for them, but chose not to because they felt the stigma was too great.
On the other hand, people from a younger generation appear to have a more laid back approach to debt. It may be that they see it as being a part of life and therefore accept it more easily.
We deal with over 100,000 clients each year who are in debt. These are people from all different walks of life, from different age groups, in different types of employment with different views on debt. One thing unites all of them, the phrase “I wish I had called you sooner.” Many people choose to bury their heads in the sand instead of getting the help that they need. By doing this, some clients find themselves in a worse situation because they worry about what people will think.
Whatever your feelings are towards debt – the facts show that the average UK household has £7,975* of unsecured debt.
It is important that you seek free debt advice as soon as you need it from Payplan or a charity such as Citizens Advice Bureau or National Debtline.
We would like to hear your views on debt. Is it true there is still a stigma attached to being in debt?
*Credit Action Stats relating to January 2012