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Monday, January 4, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like (an expensive) Christmas

Millions get into debt this Christmas

For many people, the festive period will bring an unwelcome present - debt. Research has shown that four million people in the UK have gone into debt to pay for Christmas in 2009 and nearly three million people haven't yet finished paying off Christmas 2008.

The research was carried out by the insolvency profession's leading association, the Association of Business Recovery Professionals (known as "R3") of which I'm a member and, I have to say, I'm surprised that the number isn't higher. Only four million people borrowing money to pay for Christmas? Come on, I'd be surprised if there's four million people who haven't borrowed money to help pay for Christmas. I know that I have made a dent in my credit card.

Of course, debt isn't always a bad thing. Credit is used to help pay for things that we haven't got the cash to buy right away. Affordable debt is no problem. As long as we have a plan to repay the credit, as long as it is part of a careful household budget, there's no problem. The problem only comes along when the credit can't be repaid as planned. So things like poor budgeting, building up too much credit, a change in personal circumstances (like redundancy, or starting a family) or the onset of poor health can lead to affordable debt becoming a debt problem.

The profession is also forecasting that over 150,000 people will become insolvent in 2010 - that is to say, they will either go bankrupt, enter into an individual voluntary arrangement ("IVA") or become subject to a debt relief order ("DRO"). Many tens of thousands more people will also go into debt management plans ("DMPs").

The different options can be confusing, so getting the right advice is essential for anyone who is facing debt problems. A licensed insolvency practitioner can help - we will discuss all the options, so the individual can make an informed decision about what's right for them. So feel free to give me a call - I'm always happy to chat and I offer an initial consultation that will be completely impartial and free of charge, at a time and place to suit. For friendly and impartial advice, my number is 01709 331300.

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