Well…it took a little longer than I expected (10 months!) but finally…all paid and the completion certificate is in the post I’m told. No sign here though yet even after 20 days of completion. (*EDIT* – arrived 23rd November! Yay!) (**EDIT (again)** sent scanned proof to IR of the completion and my entry has dropped off after a day!)

It’s been a rough ride too. IVA started in 2007. 2008 – the wife had to change jobs due to stress – quite an untidy final salary and used holiday mess followed by a break in payroll routine caused us to use our first payment break. 2009 – we found out that our landlord hadn’t been paying the mortgage on the house we were renting from him and so we had to move pronto before it was repossessed from him. The expense of moving, a deposit on the new house, settling the existing utilites balances etc etc caused us to have to resort to our second payment break in 2 years. We had a bit of a panic when using a letting agent but thankfully a good friend offered to be a guarantor for us otherwise we may have really struggled to find somewhere. 2011 – again, my wife not being happy in her new job (that was undertaken in a rush to escape the old one) was stressed to the max and kept having blackouts. This led to more time off and extremely scrappy wages for a few months in a row and ultimately another new job that eventually led to us having to use our final payment break due to extreme cashflow issues. D’oh.

My final payment was meant to be in January 2013 but in September 2012 my wife had to have a full hysterectomy operation in quite a hurry due to the discovery of simultaneous diagnoses of Fibroids and Endometriosis…the poor love! On top of all the stress and pain for her, the financial effect was quite severe…over 4 months of nothing but statutory sick pay on her side that totally ruined our normal repayment routine. We just had to pay what we could until we finally fell over the line – making our last payment at the end of June 2013 (five months late!). We immediately then incurred some various bits of expense with some well needed household fixes and started to put away some money each month towards our son’s surprise 18th birthday party…the first one that we’ve been able to celebrate properly since his 11th – just before the debt crunch came. I’m so angry with myself over all those missed celebrations but I can’t turn back the clock. 🙁

It’s not all negative though. Personally I have achieved quite a bit since the start of my IVA…I quit smoking 4 years ago, I’ve lost 7 stones in weight over the last 20 months due to a strict (but sensible) diet, I’ve now got rid of my debt, I’ve been to the Dentist after finally having to overcome a long phobia and I just need now to get my glasses sorted (last time was 4 years ago!) and to get to the Chiropractor as I’m in quite a bit of back pain having not gone to them in over five years due to finances. Lots of boxes ticked.

Also, for a few months now I’ve had some spare cash since the payments have finished. It’s the first time in 6 and a half years and it feels a little strange. I’m feeling (relatively) flush but very reluctant to spend – both at the same time. As I mentioned previously, I have been bursting to get back to my musical hobby for a long while now and have finally managed to buy a cheap but very functional guitar in a sale and things are now improving. I’m practicing regularly and I’ve thankfully surpassed my previous standard – a big surprise to me as 6 years off from an instrument is no joke. I didn’t have to completely stop playing of course whilst I was in the IVA but the whole affair left me listless with no ambition and no money for music, strings, lessons, travel etc. Also, I just wanted to get my head down – go to work, go to sleep and get it all over. Maybe a little dose of depression? I don’t normally think of things in that way so I don’t know. I’m just very good at being a hermit when required. Music definitely carried me though – I didn’t have the will to play but I listened to my MP3 player constantly daily on my 3 hours-a-day bus journeys.

I really wish the best for everybody else on this journey…it does end even though at several points I was convinced I was stuck. The middle years were atrociously bad for me. I’m just in the process of examining my 3 credit files and about to distribute copies of my completion certificate when it arrives in order to finish that aspect off. Hopefully this won’t be as painful as all the other red tape I’ve had to deal with.

At the end of the day, it’s the best decision that I had made in a long time and now I’m on the other side life seems a lot better.

If I have any advice for people just starting or a short way in – find a hobby…obviously a cheap one. I made the mistake of letting my life grind to a halt for a long time and really…it just slows time down even more. Even if your hobby is just reading or similar. My diet ended up being my hobby by default but I’m sure you can find a better one! 🙂

All the best,


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Brief History


10 months to go now. It’s been a long journey so far.

I started work in the IT sector in 1999 on a very low salary. By this point I was married with a 3 year old son. I’d been on the dole for quite a while before this but life was too expensive to continue that way. I’d earlier received a modest inheritance after the death of my mother but it got slowly frittered away by life and I wasn’t eligible for benefits due to the inheritance itself happening whilst I was unemployed. At this point I was broke and needed a job.

I soon discovered that my salary wasn’t quite sufficient to support us properly and by the time I had eventually got a better paid job I already had a bank loan. I then got promoted several times and the good times started…higher salary…another loan or two and a few credit cards etc etc. Quite a bit of debt built up but I was earning more than enough to cover it all. Then, about 7 years ago I started to struggle as my wife had also picked up quite a bit of debt and was struggling so I started to help her meet her commitments.

Another year or so later, I discovered that my job was in danger. The technologies I was trained in were rapidly becoming out of date. I had a hard choice to make…try and find another job with rapidly aging skills for the same salary (very unlikely) or retrain myself in the latest technologies and stay at my current workplace…albeit at around a 20% paycut! Although I retrained myself very quickly and got the new job after internal interview procedures etc etc I knew deep down that I needed help financially immediately. My finances were close to the edge before but now had a large shortfall every month with no savings at all as a buffer. Actually, I was even at my overdraft limit with my bank.

After quite a bit of surfing I discovered an IVA solution/company that suited me and started along the long long road of budgeting and at times…misery. Before I started in IT I was a promising musician. Life just got too expensive for me to follow my dream any longer and I joined the working masses. Actually, during the 1st day of that job during lunchtime my heart sank as I knew things had changed and I had to let go for quite a while. Didn’t realise it would be this long though 🙁

However, here I am, almost 13 years later in the final year of my IVA and heading at long last to zero debt. My finances have almost reached full circle.

I have no delusions about my chances at a career in music now at my age, but to be able to start my hobby again with a nice instrument or two would give me back some of what I have been missing for such a long time. After January 2013 I will be debt free and ready to start again. Quite a lot wiser though thankfully!


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