Problem debt can leave you feeling hopeless and alone with nowhere to turn – but there are always options available.
This weekend, Newstalk is teaming up with the Insolvency Service of Ireland (ISI) to encourage people to take that first step towards freedom from debt.
Established in 2013 to support people facing personal insolvency, the ISI has helped nearly 20,000 people find their way through financial difficulty.
With a regulated network of financial advisors on hand, the State service links people with effective help and advice from qualified professionals – proving that no matter what you’re facing, you’re never defined by your debt.
The ISI’s debt solutions are legally binding and have agreed timelines – so there are no surprise charges or costs.
Creditors cannot contact you while an agreement is in place – offering you confidence and peace of mind so you can move on with your life.
Meanwhile, the ISI believes everyone is entitled to a reasonable standard of living while dealing with their debt – meaning life can carry on as usual while you get a handle on things.
'Straightaway I knew they cared'
44-year-old Terry said his family got into financial difficulty when his wife was made redundant and was unable to continue paying half the monthly mortgage payments on their home.
After three years of being unable to meet repayments, the bank sold the family’s mortgage to a fund which secured a possession order on their home.
A family friend who had heard about the ISI suggested Terry seek professional advice so Terry got in touch with a Personal Insolvency Practitioner (PIP) who advised him that a Personal Insolvency Arrangement (PIA) was the best way forward.
Under the PIA, the fund agreed to reduce the family’s mortgage balance by €80,000 and extended the mortgage term to 30 years with affordable payments.
Terry was able to keep the family home and work his way back towards solvency with manageable payments.
“Straightaway I knew our PIP actually cared,” he said. “She understood the situation.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many people in Ireland were already struggling with unsustainable debts and the months since have done little to ease the burden.
ISI research has found that the impact of debt on mental health can be severe – with many debtors pointing to feelings of fear, anxiety, isolation, shame and loss of control.
Shame can prevent people from taking steps to tackle their situation or reaching out for help; however, the longer people try to struggle on alone against unmanageable debt, the more unmanageable the situation becomes.
The ISI has solutions for all levels of debt and just picking up the phone and taking that first step can bring an immense sense of relief to anyone struggling to stay above water.
A Debt Relief Notice is an insolvency solution for people who have a low income, few assets and debts of less than €35,000. It is a formal agreement that allows for debt to written off if a person is unlikely to able to repay it within three years.
A Debt Settlement Arrangement is a formal agreement with creditors that allows people to pay a percentage of their overall debt while the rest is written off.
A Personal Insolvency Arrangement provides for the restructuring or settlement of debt secured by an asset, while keeping people in their homes wherever possible.
Bankruptcy is a formal High Court insolvency solution for people in debt over €20,000.
For more information visit https://backontrack.ie, contact a Personal Insolvency Practitioner or text GETHELP to 50015 for a call back