Personal Insolvencies: A Flash in the Pan or the Shape of Things to Come?

If you’ve been keeping up with current events you’ve probably read something about the burgeoning UK credit bubble and the danger many experts believe every-growing levels of personal debt poses to both millions of individuals and the nation as a whole. In some cases people with excessive levels of personal debt will manage to take hold of the dragon’s tail and bring their situation back under control. In many other cases though personal insolvency awaits. In fact, recently released figures show that during the first quarter of 2017 personal insolvencies increased to their highest level in nearly three years and experts warn this may be just the tip of the iceberg.

Losing Ground

From January to March of 2017 there were more than 24,000 personal insolvency cases filed in England and Wales. That’s an alarming 15.7% increase over the same period last year and nearly 7% higher than previous quarter. All told it was the highest number of personal insolvency cases since 2014 when many who had rung up enormous debts while trying to survive the financial crisis were forced to finally throw in the towel. 2014 also happens to be the year when many Brits stopped paying down their debt in the wake of the financial crisis and started charging again.

While it’s likely that many recent insolvency cases are people who went back on a diet of easy credit over the past few years there are other potential causes as well and none of them bode particularly well for the future. Take inflation for instance: The annual inflation rate last year was 2.3% and is projected to rise to 3% or slightly more this year. At the same time wages only grew 1.9% last year and there are no indications companies plan to boost wages in 2017. When inflation was nearly non-existent 1.9% wage growth, while anaemic, was still enough to keep pace. But that’s no longer the case. As a result many working families find themselves falling behind and looking to credit cards and payday loans to make up for the shortfall.

Avoiding the Credit Abyss

Financial planners and debt advisers agree that the sooner a person recognizes debt is becoming an issue the greater their chances of avoiding personal insolvency. There are any number of free services out there that will provide advice on how to turn things around if it’s not already too late. However, if you are at a point where you believe you won’t be able to repay your current debt these same advisers can counsel you on the most appropriate path to take.

  • Bankruptcy – In the event you find yourself unable to pay your debts you may need to file for bankruptcy and you should seek financial advice without delay. As mentioned there are any number of free services available that will help you sort out your credit mess and determine the right way forward (we list a number of those agencies at the bottom of this post). If you are at the point that you are contemplating bankruptcy and have contacted an adviser you should notify all your creditors and ask them to halt any actions against you while you work out a plan with that advisor. If you deal with creditors in good faith you will find most are willing to work with you to find a reasonable solution.

There are certainly cases where bankruptcy will be the best and perhaps only option but in less severe cases there may be other ways forward, including:

  • Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA) – If you live in England or Wales an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or IVA might be the right solution for you. In short the IVA procedure is one wherein an individual renegotiates payments to their creditors with the aim of finding a realistic way of honouring the debt. The IVA must be overseen by an insolvency practitioner and the final IVA must be approved by 75% of a person’s creditors in order to be considered legally binding. Once the IVA is approved you will switch from paying creditors directly to paying the insolvency practitioner who will then divide the money among your creditors according to the terms of the IVA. If your creditors reject your proposed IVA it will be understood that the original debt conditions still apply. Keep in mind that you can enter into an IVA whether you’ve already filed for bankruptcy or not and that IVAs are not available in Scotland.

 

  • Debt Relief Order (DRO) – The Debt Relief Order is yet another alternative to bankruptcy and first became available in England and Wales in 2009. It is intended to help those who have less than £15,000 in personal debt and less than £50 in disposable income they would be able to put toward debt payments every month. In order to be considered eligible for a DRO the person would also need to have less than £300 worth of gross assets. If you own property either alone or in partnership with someone else you are not eligible for a Debt Relief Order.

Speak to a debt adviser at one of the organizations listed here to find out more about your options regarding bankruptcy, IVAs or DROs.

Keep in mind that insolvency is not inevitable. If you recognize your debt problem early enough you should be able to take remedial steps to avoid the credit abyss and return your financial life to a solid footing. However, even if things have spiralled out of control there’s no reason to panic or presume the worst. Instead, speak to a qualified debt adviser and let them help you devise a plan of action.

Seven Top Tips To Add Value To Your Home On A Budget

For those looking to sell their home or just looking for smart, economical upgrades, there are many ways to improve your home to add value, often these ways are costly, such as refitting the bathroom or replacing the windows. Here we highlight some of the best ways to increase the value of your home while still being budget friendly.

If you’re also looking to save money without making huge sacrifices in your everyday life then you may also want to check out  this article which shares 8 Money Saving Life Hacks That You Can Make now

  1. New Light Fittings

The light in a room can dramatically change its appearance. If you want to add value, you want to give your home an impression of a larger space with a bright, airy yet warm feeling. Opt for chandelier style fittings to make your room appear stylish and refined. Alternatively, choose modern copper fixtures for instant glamour, that is very on trend.

When fitting new lighting, opt for a dimmer switch to which makes your lighting much more versatile so that your home is ready for any occasion.

  1. Update The Bathroom

While a new bathroom can cost a fortune, there are simple tricks to give your bathroom a timely update that gives it a designer finish. New taps on the sink can give a shine and sparkle that was lost with old, discoloured metal while a new toilet seat can help to give the room a clean and new appearance. Bathroom cabinets and cupboards are also extremely handy for clearing the clutter and giving you a seemingly spacious bathroom without needing an extension.

  1. First Impressions Count

Many people will judge your home as soon as they see it, so make it an entrance to remember for all the right reasons. If a new front door is too expensive, give it a good clean, or paint if it’s wooden, and consider changing the fixtures to new modern styles. You can dramatically improve the entrance of your home thanks to tasteful shrubs or flowering plants adorning either side of your front door which is a purse-friendly upgrade that is easy to do.

  1. A Lick Of Paint

A fresh coat of paint instantly makes rooms look clean and bright again, and paint can be purchased relatively cheaply, you may still have paint leftover from the last time you decorated. You do not need to go wild redecorating, simply splashing on a new coat in the same colour will help to sharpen the room and make the whole room feel brand new.

  1. Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning

A thorough house clean can transform your home instantly. A professional sofa clean will revitalise your old settee and dramatically restore life back into your furnishings and is much cheaper than purchasing new seating. Cleaning the carpet is also a great yet inexpensive way to restore the colour and freshness of your carpet, so it looks as good as new.

If you’re looking to sell, many buyers will consider the cost of upgrading the carpets in the price, if yours look brand new, you’ll win the potential buyers over instantly. If you plan to stay at your home, freshly cleaned carpets create a great smell that will improve the look of your home and also make it a much more inviting and pleasant atmosphere.

  1. Add Style

Quick and simple tricks to instantly update your home on a budget can include adding stylish decorations that you can create yourself or pick up cheaply second hand. An elegant vase filled with flowers from the garden can create a positive and warming touch. Another consideration is a  contemporary floating fireplace beam that gives you shelf space but also turns your fireplace into a stylish centrepiece, without the costly expensive of purchasing a new fireplace and surround.

A bright and bold canvas painting can instantly give impact to a neutrally painted room and transform your home into a stylish designer haven. It is the perfect chance to get creative or go rummaging in charity shops.

  1. Create A Feature Wall

If you don’t have the money to wallpaper the whole room, why not consider a designer style feature wall. With one roll of stylishly printed wallpaper, you can create a focal point in any room or simply cover the chimney breast. A feature wall can be anywhere from a small downstairs bathroom to the bedroom or living room.

With a feature wall, you can create a bold and fun design that will give your home impact and be a talking point for all the right reasons. With many different textures, prints, patterns and colour fusions you are sure to find an interesting wallpaper that will make any room shine without spending a fortune.

A Guide To Establishing A More Secure Financial State

Before you will decide to look into such topics as IVA or establishing your Trust Deeds, it matters that you will first know what your goals are. Before you will decide to embark on something- especially something as important as this, you want to be sure then you are well prepared for what is going to unfold. Securing your finances is not something that you can achieve overnight, it takes a lot of hard work and determination. Unless you are able to establish these traits, you can trust that keeping your finances stable may not be a walk in the park for you.

Just like how you would want you Protected Trust Deeds to be all set, you will need to pay attention to how much you have been saving as well. It is easy to spend way more than what you really intend if you are not too keen on keeping track of your spending. This is why you will need to be more aware of where your every single penny is going to. This creates a sense of responsibility so you are perpetually questioning yourself whether a purchase that you are about to make is going to be worth it or not.

Save. Save money. You will want to set aside a specific amount of money that you are earning to your rainy day funds. You will never really know when something unexpected might happen and the best that you can make sure that you have a plan on how you save money along the way, this allows you o be better equipped and prepared to handle those instances when you may have some emergency expenditures. It is reassuring to k who that you will be able to get access to extra cash if and when the need arises. Making your savings automatic is not a bad idea either.

Control your spending. A lot of the problems that people tend to experience pertaining to their finances often has something to do with their being impulsive when buying something. This is the reason why it is always wise to create a list of the stuff that you are getting when you go out. This helps you get rid of situations where you spend on something that you did not really intend to buy in the first place. A good way of keeping your spending under control is to always k how what you want to get ahead of time and to stick to what you have written on the list too.

Live frugally as this will help you shrink your debt. People often have financial troubles simply because they tend to spend more than what they end. You will want to keep your living simple and frugal. Buy only the stuff that you need. This ensures that whatever numbers you will decide it dish out of your pockets, you that it is something that you truly need.

Think of the future. All too many times, people tend to be way too shortsighted that they just live in the now and they do not really consider what will happen to them in the future. Remember, you will grow old and you may no longer be able to hold a job then. If this happens when you will certainly want to be sure that you have a contingency plan in the event that you do want to retire in the long run.

Pay off your debt. Carve out a good plan that will help you get rid of whatever you owe. Pay them as soon as you can. Remember, when debts are left unpaid for a long time, they tend to accumulate interest rates thereby, causing them to be even more expensive to pay back in the process.