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Are you tired of worrying about debts? Well, that's what we regularly hear at Debt Support Trust, a registered money advice charity. That's why we help people get back out of debt, as quickly as possible.

All debt solutions need to be affordable, so that depends on how much money you have available each month after you pay your regular monthly bills. The right debt solution will also be determined from your level of unsecured debt.

Take between 5 - 10 minutes and take the debt test below. It'll give you, in confidence, an answer on how you could resolve your credit card and other debts.

 

TakeTheDebtTest

You can also call Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226 for debt advice from a not for profit charity.

5 Popular Debt Solutions

yay-10142136There are solutions to debt problems and you don't have to be in debt forever. Many people get into debt accidentally, in fact, the most common reasons for debt are because of unemployment/ reduced income, divorce or separation or a change in personal circumstances leading to a money problem.

There are ways these problematic debts can be rectified. These include:

1.Token payments: If you are unemployed or have a low income you could consider making token payments to your debt. This is where you pay one low monthly amount to each creditor, until your situation improves.

2. Debt management plan / Debt arrangement scheme: Depending on your location, you could be suitable for either one of these solutions. You pay one monthly amount to your debt each month and it's managed by another party, so you don't have to deal with your creditors.

3. IVA: A formal debt solution in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. You pay one affordable payment, often for 5 years and at the end any interest or charges is cleared and you're debt free.

4. Trust Deed: A Scottish formal debt plan to repay what you can afford, typically for 4 years. You pay what you can afford and at the end your remaining debt is cleared.

5. Bankruptcy: A solution which can be entered via a number of routes to resolve debts you can't afford to repay.

The First Step

In taking positive action to resolve any debt problem you must first admit the problem exists. A quick checklist to determine if a problem exists is:

1. Do you struggle to make your payments to your credit cards and other debts every month?

2. Do you often have no money left at the end of the month because you have paid your debts?

3. Are you sometimes late in making your payments to your debt or have you received correspondence from the companies you owe money to saying you've not made payment?

4. Do you worry about debt in the morning or last thing at night?

If you identify yourself with any of the above statements then Debt Support Trust may have an answer to help you. You can seek professional money advice from a registered charity today through calling 0800 085 0226 or completing the debt test below.

TakeTheDebtTest

Frivolous spending, too many holidays or just greed are common reasons why people who are not in debt believe others get into financial distress.

I gathered a group of people round a table last week, with nobody owing any debt other than a mortgage, to ask them their thoughts about why debt problems existed. The answers were enlightening.

"Because they buy, buy, buy and don't think about the consequences."

"People just think, I'll spend it now and pay it later without having a plan."

"It's because people can't manage their money."

Some people realised it wasn't just overspending in an uncontrollable fashion causing debt problems, but a change in circumstances. However, nobody sympathised towards a person dealing with a debt problem and certainly didn't think they should offer any support.

I personally still have debt - my student loan from my time studying is still being repaid. The interest rate is low and it's being cleared slowly, but surely, from the original balance. I too have used credit cards and paid them off, but if circumstances were different, for example divorce/separation or  a drop or loss of income, then I could have had a credit card debt which I couldn't repay in such a structured way. Most people may need to turn to credit to survive at a difficult period with the honest intention of repaying the debt in the future.

The Debt Support Trust charity was established because I have witnessed the crippling social and economic destruction debt problems can cause. I've watched friends and family struggle; their plight known by nobody, with their pain, worry and stress almost being masked with a stern, emotionless façade to conceal the true gravity of the panic their situation was causing them.

In reality, debt problems occur for a variety of different reasons. It can be down to overspending on day to day life where the credit cards become a noose around your neck and you face a struggle to get free. Rarely have I ever spoken to somebody overspending on credit who has said they did it deliberately and without concern for their creditors. A debt problem can occur through a divorce or separation. The household costs, which were once paid from two incomes, have now to be paid by one. Even if somebody takes action to address the deficit each month, it will take time to put the plans in motion and all the time the total debt is increasing. Injury or illness can force a person to stop working and their pre-existing debt, which was manageable, still has to be serviced but on a much reduced income.

There are various reasons why a person could get into debt and it's not always as simple as "they just overspend and buy whatever they want".

People contacting Debt Support Trust often feel frightened, unsure and alone. Frequently people cry when they explain how they have reached this point in their life. Their partner, family and friends may not know the full extent of their money problems and speaking to our charity advice team is the first time saying out loud: "I have a debt problem".

When helping people overcome their debt problem, they don't want our sympathy or pity or for somebody to judge their situation. What people really want when they call the charity is for somebody to listen to their financial predicament and offer useful, relevant and tailored solutions so they can take control of their finances, once again.

Breakdown the Stigma

There's only one route to resolving a debt problem and it's through a direct and honest approach to the situation. It's uncomfortable and for many people they won't have opened their mail or spoken to their creditors about their financial problem for months. Taking the first step is the hardest and is often a knee-jerk reaction when contacting us for advice - "today's the day" is what we hear frequently.

Through breaking down the stigma of debt we're encouraging people to seek debt help. It may not be from Debt Support Trust but instead the team at the local Citizens Advice Bureau, but seeking professional advice is important to take the first step back out of debt. Attitudes and opinions to debt need to change as people need the encouragement and strength to deal with the debt head on.

Being in debt is a miserable experience for anybody, so when somebody is struggling to repay their debt they require support and that's what Debt Support Trust is available to offer.

Helping Dermot

Former businessman Dermot turned to Debt Support Trust for advice after he'd been made bankrupt over a £70,000 debt owed to the Inland Revenue.

The 45-year-old married dad-of-two faced financial troubles with a number of creditors after his successful business hit hard times when he lost a number of regular contracts.

Dermot admitted he got into 'severe financial trouble', making matters worse by having his 'head in the sand' over growing money worries and avoided even sharing his financial woes with his wife. His marriage broke down and Dermot faced major health issues with stress and depression.

Since being made bankrupt In 2012 he's faced further issues when legal moves began to force the sale of his family's home to release equity to reduce his debts. He's still locked in a court battle over the case.

Dermot said: "Without question Debt Support Trust has saved my life. At one stage I felt I had nowhere to turn to and I was being put under incredible pressure. Their advice and support has been invaluable.

"Their team has allowed my voice to be louder and clearer as I've faced organisations who see me simply as a case number in a file on someone's desk. They've helped me write letters and given advice at a time I wanted and needed it and I just don't know what I'd have done without them. They've never judged me - they've just supported me."

 

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Stuart Carmichael is the Chief Executive of Debt Support Trust which is open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday and supports people with advice about and solutions to their debt problem.

Last week I met with an old friend, somebody I'd known for over 20 years and knew very well, but I didn't know this about his finances.

He and his wife got married 4 years ago, purchased a house and are both working full time. Their combined income was over £60,000 per year and they had no assets like stocks, shares or bonds. They both had a car on a conditional sale agreement.

My friend telephoned to say he had "a little debt" which he wanted to resolve. So, we met and discussed the situation. We reviewed his income, expenditure, assets and debts to understand the full picture.

He confessed he didn't really know the extent of his debt problem, so it was a shock to him when he realised he owed £16,000 to 4 credit cards, a personal loan and his overdraft. He was only making the minimum payments. No matter the level of debt, there is always a route back out towards financial freedom. The couple had a disposable income - the amount they could realistically afford towards their debt - of £350 per month.

yay-10142136It was then onto the debt advice. He had heard of a Trust Deed before and thought this option would be his best option. The Trust Deed is an ideal debt solution for some people, depending on their circumstances. It lasts 4 years and you pay what you can reasonably afford each month. At the end of the solution any remaining debt is written off.

My friend would not be best entering a Trust Deed and I explained why. If he were to pay £350 per month he would be debt free in under 4 years in a debt arrangement scheme. This option freezes interest, charges and protects the property from creditors. All of the debt is repaid and I could ensure he would enter a fee-free debt arrangement scheme. After some discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the solution, he agreed the debt arrangement scheme would be the best option.

All in all, the process took about 20 minutes.

Helping a Friend in Debt

It's not the first time I've spoken to friends, and family, about their money problems. I doubt that I'm unique in this scenario but what can you do for the best to support a person dealing with debt?

My Top Tips for dealing with debt are:

  1. Don't panic: The first feeling when a partner, friend or family member tells you they have a debt problem is to worry that there's no solution. There is always a route back out of debt.
  2. Take an income, expenditure, a list of assets and debts: Put the kettle on, make a cup of tea and grab a pen and some paper. Set aside 10 minutes to jot down the household income, expenditure, the value of any assets (and any secured loans that are outstanding) and a list of the debts with the outstanding amounts.
  3. Reassure the person in debt: The person who has been managing the debt will have been doing so for some time. It's likely to have caused them sleepless nights, trouble focussing on at work and in relationships and could have affected their eating habits. Let them know you're going to support them through the money problems - a problem shared is a problem halved.
  4. Seek professional advice: When it comes to the advice it's often best to talk through the options with a professional debt advice organisation. You can visit your local citizens advice bureau or receive telephone help from Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Contacting a Charity

Debt Support Trust is available to provide debt advice Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm or you can take the debt test to give you an idea which debt solutions may be suitable.

You can call the charity on 0800 085 0226 where a friendly debt advisor will be able to help.

StuartCarmichaelpic

 

Stuart Carmichael is the Chief Executive of Debt Support Trust which is open 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday and supports people with advice about and solutions to their debt problem.

Debt Support Trust on TVThe charity was setup to deliver life changing solutions to money problems and we've managed to support thousands of people with their debt worries throughout the UK. We do this via our telephone and internet based debt advice centre.

Our debt help team provide support on a confidential and non-judgemental basis.

Debt Support Trust is available to provide debt advice on 0800 085 0226 or you can complete our debt test below.

 

TakeTheDebtTest

Debt Support Trust

Recently, Debt Support Trust has been helping an ever increasing number of people battle their debt problems. From assisting with guidance on creating token payment plans with creditors through to helping people complete bankruptcy forms, we're taking an active stance to help people become debt free once again.

One of the reasons for our increase in enquiries is due to being featured on BBC radio and on TV. Many people didn't realise that a charity like Debt Support Trust was available to help with debt issues. The charity is a supportive ear to listen to problems associated with money and provide relevant and timely advice.

Stuart Carmichael from Debt Support Trust said "Our radio and TV appearances have helped to bring Debt Support Trust to people in need of debt advice. The charity supports people between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday and our debt test is available 24/7. We're answering 97% of all our calls to the helpline within 10 seconds so people can receive immediate debt support."

Debt Plans to Become Debt Free

There are a range of debt solutions a person may be applicable to enter. Each debt solution will have its own benefit and negative. Through receiving tailored money advice you can understand how each solution will affect you and make an informed decision over which route to take in order to become debt free again.

Some of the debt solutions include

Negotiating with creditors: Many people think that their creditors will be aggressive if they mention they have a debt problem, which is not necessarily the case. Some creditors will be happy to negotiate and support you through a difficult financial problem. We can help you with this.

Debt management: A debt management plan is an informal debt solution where you pay one set amount each month to one company and they pay your debts for you. You won't be making your contractual payments so the debt management company will ask for the interest and charges to be frozen too, although this won't be guaranteed. We can help you with a free debt management plan so you don't have to pay any setup or ongoing management fees.

Debt arrangement scheme (Scotland): You repay all of the money you borrowed via the debt arrangement scheme (DAS) but do so in an affordable payment plan. The interest and charges will be frozen on your debt to help you achieve your goal to become debt free.

IVA: The Individual Voluntary Arrangement is suitable for some people who want to repay what they can afford over a set period of time. Any remaining debt will be cleared at the end of the solution.

Trust deed (Scotland): The protected trust deed is usually a 4 year debt solution and will allow you to pay one affordable amount to your debt every month. The debt which is not repaid at the end of the solution is written off and you will be debt free again.

Bankruptcy: There are a few ways you can enter bankruptcy. The different processes will depend on your statement of affairs which a debt advisor can complete for you. The cost to enter bankruptcy will vary depending on the route you take.

There are individual pages on each debt solution which fully explain the pros and cons of each route.

Debt Support Trust has surveyed the opinions of 1,055 people across the UK to find out about their Christmas spending habits. The most prominent results were:

  • 17% of people will borrow to afford their Christmas
  • 15% of borrowers will still be repaying this year's Christmas debt next year
  • 42% of people feel pressured to overspend on Christmas
  • Almost one third (32%) of people feeling pressured to overspend wish they could cancel Christmas because of the financial burden
  • The average amount being spent on gifts is £230 but Christmas will cost each adult £433, including travel, gifts, food and alcohol.

Christmas: An Expensive Day

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The cost of Christmas is such that many people wish they could cancel the festive holiday.

At the charity, we help 40% of people in debt in the first three month's of the year as people start the New Year wanting to resolve their financial problems.

One Christmas of overspending is unlikely to translate into serious debt problems however consistent overspending could cause financial difficulties.

We found that 42% of people felt pressured to exceed their budget and spend more than they had in order to meet their Christmas expectations. Of the people that felt pressured to overspend at Christmas 32% wish they could cancel Christmas because of the financial burden.

The average cost of Christmas is £433 per person, which includes food, gifts, travel, alcohol and decorations. These costs for some people (17%) will be borrowed with the intention of repaying at a later date.

Credit Cards at Christmas

Some people will turn to credit cards to afford Christmas this year. While 61% of people will use money in their current account and a further 14% will use their savings to pay for Christmas, 14% will turn to credit cards, 2% will borrow from friends and family and 1% will take out a loan.

Borrowing on credit cards can help pay for the costly Christmas period and most people will have their Christmas debt repaid within 6 months. For some (15%), they will still be repaying this year's Christmas debt next year.

Stuart Carmichael, Chief Executive of Debt Support Trust said, "Borrowing to afford Christmas isn't necessarily a problem as long as there is an affordable repayment plan in place to clear the debt.

"It's important to set a realistic budget over the festive period and decide prior to spending if you want to take up to 12 months, or longer, to repay debt borrowed to afford one day."

 

* Survey was conducted by Populus on 10th & 11th of December 2014.

The industry regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has said that they are imposing strict regulations on payday loan companies from 2nd January 2015. The new laws will change the way fees are charged by payday loan organisations.

There will be a price cap on the amount of money a payday lender can charge per day and the total amount which can be charged in late fees or repayments.

If you have a payday loan which you are struggling to repay speak to Debt Support Trust on 0800 085 0226.

Changes to Payday Loan Fees

The fees charged by payday lenders was previous unlimited. This meant that a company could charge what they wanted to for missed or late payments and the interest rate could be as much as they wanted.

People in debt to payday loans would contact Debt Support Trust seeking our debt help. We would frequently hear about a £100 loan which had risen to £1,000, or more, because of late payments and rolling debts over.

The new legislation will mean that debts in a payday loan will be capped at double the initial loan. Also, the interest rate is going to be capped at 0.8% per day. Previously, a loan of £100 would typically cost £125 to repay at the end of the month. If the person was unable to repay the £125 then the debt would be rolled over and a fee may be charged too. This further compounded the debt problem for the individual.

New legislation will protect people from short term lenders offering 30 day loans. The total amount of money which can be repaid will be equal to double the initial loan. The fees for late payments will be capped at £15.

Impact on Changes to Payday Lending

The changes to payday loans have been generally welcomed by the industry. At Debt Support Trust we're pleased to see positive action being influenced by the financial regulator. It's estimated that 7% fewer people, roughly 70,000, will no longer borrow from short term lenders. The FCA has said that lending has dropped by 35% since it took control of regulating the financial credit market. It's also been suggested that the proposals don't go far enough to protect consumers from the pitfalls these payday loans offer.

The payday loans industry has said that it expects more people to turn to loan sharks and unregulated lenders in order to survive financially.

Today's announcement doesn't clarify what short term lending would constitute as other lenders offer loans over longer terms than the standard 30 day loan.

We would encourage anybody experiencing financial problems to seek help from our charity on 0800 085 0226 or visit your Citizens Advice Bureau.

Starting the process to receive debt advice can often seem like a challenging experience. Talking to somebody about your debt problems is not easy but it is the first stage in regaining financial control.

You can read below about a mother's experience in seeking debt help from Debt Support Trust. If you want help with debt advice you can speak to us on 0800 085 0226.

Email from Somebody We Helped

On behalf of my husband and I, I would like to thank you for all that you did a few weeks ago to help us into the road of recovery from our debt difficulties. We're now moving forward and we will be paying £350 a month instead of well over £1000 and will at the end of the journey be left with no debt apart from the mortgage. It's such a relief to feel that, although we haven't got money to go out and spend particularly and we need to be careful, we know that all the bills are going to be paid and that we are paying off debts instead of throwing interest payments at them. I'm also now paying the secured loan off monthly and that is starting to decrease before our eyes.

Reaching out to you guys was one of the best things I could have done. I'm so glad that you gently pursued me after I had filled in your online form as I was nervous about talking to someone in person, but your friendly way was just what I needed. Although I can't pretend that all this has been easy at all you made it painless.

You have not made me feel at all embarrassed about the position we ended up in which has meant a lot because I was already feeling a huge amount of embarrassment and guilt about ending up in financial difficulty when I earn a good wage when there are people out there with next to nothing.

I really appreciate this chance to sort ourselves out financially, we will continue to value it, work hard to get it all sorted out and hopefully never end up in the position where we need help again.

Thanks again, you've made a very big difference to our family.

Money Advice to receive Debt Help

Our debt advice charity is open between Monday - Friday 8am to 7pm. You can call and speak to a friendly adviser on 0800 085 0226.

If you would prefer to email and ask a question you can do this on contact@debtsupporttrust.org.uk.

One of the questions most people want to know when they call our charity advisors at Debt Support Trust is, "How can I get debt free?". Being in debt is not an enjoyable experience and it's known to cause mental health, relationship and employment problems. The stress of trying to repay the debt can often cause people to ignore their money worries further. This is not a solution but an understandable reaction when the debts grow beyond a person's capability.

At Debt Support Trust we're experts are helping people to resolve their money problems to ensure you can become debt free again.

You can get help from our charity by telephoning our helpline on 0800 085 0226.

Get Debt Free... Again

There is always a route to become debt free but knowning which options you are suitable for may not be evident. That's why thousands of people contact Debt Support Trust for our help.

We review your financial situation, including your income, expenditure and debts. We know exactly the debt solutions you could be suitable for. Once we understand your situation we then explain the process of entering each plan, along with the pros and cons. Some debt solutions can help you become debt free in as little as 1 year, but most will take longer.

Benefits of Dealing with Debt

There are multiple reasons why you would want to seek debt help. We've listed 5 of the top reasons you could want to become debt free:

  • You will eventually be debt free
  • Some debt solutions will allow you to freeze interest and charges
  • You won't be alone in dealing with debt as we'll be here to help
  • You can protect your assets in some plans
  • You will only be asked to pay what you can afford each month towards your debt

The primary reason you would want to get debt free is to get your finances back on track. If you're worried about opening letters, answering the phone or even leaving your house because you fear your creditors contacting you, then we can support you.

Start to Become Debt Free

You can take the first steps to become debt free by speaking to a debt advice charity. Debt Support Trust is open between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday. You can complete our debt analyser form at any point 24 hours a day and receive an outline to the debt solutions which you could be suitable for.

You can complete our debt analyser below, or call 0800 085 0226.

analyseyourdebt

New figures released by the BBC have highlighted a significant rise in football season ticket prices, but should clubs be asking so much from fans in the current financial climate?

The new statistics found football season tickets for the Premier League have increased by 8.7% to reach £508.55 from £467.95 in 2012.

Footballl Season Ticket Prices Increase

During the same period the average household debt has increased to £521 per UK adult, according to figures released by The Money Charity, as of October 2014.

With 1000 people a day being made redundant between May and July, are football clubs in the UK asking too much of their fans and exploiting their loyalty?

The 2014/2015 season saw TV revenue increase a staggering 71% for the Premier League after it received £3.1bn for the rights to televise games.

This increase led to many fans, pundits and others demanding clubs reduce the cost to watch the sport, but it appears tickets have continued to rise.

When comparing the cost of watching a team in the English league with those in Europe it can make for surprising reading:

Cheapest Season Tickets

  • Barcelona: £103
  • Borussia Dortmund£160
  • Charlton: £150
  • Arsenal: £1014.00
  • Man City: £299.00

On average, match day tickets have increased 4.4% year-on-year which is triple the average cost of living for the UK at 1.2%.

Tell Us?

  • Are football clubs exploiting fans?
  • Should prices have decreased?
  • Is this just the cost for having high quality sport?
  • What can be done to reduce the cost of football tickets?

Resolving debt problems is one of the hardest decisions to make for some people and it doesn't happen easily. Opening up and money worries, especially when you have dealt with them alone for so long, can be complicated. However, at Debt Support Trust we're here to help you to the steps you need to become debt free again.

Many people we help speak to us about becoming debt free but aren't ready to take the necessary steps to start a debt solution. The advice is stage one and speak to somebody at our charity can help you to get the information you need to understand the pros and cons of the debt solutions you are applicable for.

Once you have the information you are under no obligation to take our advice and proceed, but when you start a debt solution you will be taking positive steps to resolve your debts, which for many people have caused relationship, health or employment issues.

If you're ready to take steps to clear your debts and become debt free again Debt Support Trust can help. You can call us on 0800 085 0226 or complete our debt analyser enquiry form today.

analyseyourdebt

Taking the First Step to Debt Freedom

There are various reasons why people get into debt but the most important question is how to get back to being debt free. There are many routes out of debt but some may not be applicable, depending on your situation.

You may only want to tentatively ask about which debt solution is right for you and that's something we hear a lot at Debt Support Trust. It then gives you the time to think about the solution before proceeding and starting the process of resolving your debts.

It's important you feel comfortable about the debt solution you enter and that you're not pressured into any plan. There are often two or three routes out of debt and it can be a personal decision over which one you decide to enter. At Debt Support Trust our responsibility is to ensure you have the information about every debt solution you could enter, along with the pros and cons based on your financial and personal circumstances.

Resolving Debts in a Debt Plan

When you're ready to resolve your debts then Debt Support Trust is here to help. We support people across the whole of the UK become debt free and start again financially. The process is simple. After you get in touch via telephone, email or debt analyser we will complete a short questionnaire about your debt, income, expenditure and assets, like houses and cars. This information helps us determine which solutions you are suitable for. We also listen to what you want to achieve and try to match your expectations with available debt solutions. You can then decide how you wish to proceed and we'll help you with whatever route you choose.

Debt Support Trust is open between 8am and 7pm Monday to Friday and you can call us on 0800 085 0226.