Dealing with your Creditors: Part Two

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by Margaret, North Dublin MABS

Welcome back!

In this, the second part of the blog series of dealing with your creditors, I’ll share with you some more tips, tricks and useful tools that you can use to take control. Continue reading to learn more.

It’s fair to say that this time has given us all time to reflect. Reflection or taking time to review is good practice, especially when it comes to taking control of your finances. Reviewing is an important task as outlined by my colleague Liz in her blog series of managing on a reduced income .

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While reflecting on my recent cases, I began to notice a positive trend. People, once they engage, are eager to deal with their financial matters in a timely manner and following on from recent blogs, I feel heartened as you can imagine.

Can we apply some enthusiasm to our finances moving forward? Yes, I believe so.

A recent survey carried out by KBC bank and published by the on Friday 24th April found that over half of Irish consumers say the current crisis will affect their household finances. There will be an end to this current pandemic, hopefully, sooner rather than later, but the message is clear, engage. Although we all have different ideas on when or how it will end, ultimately, there will be an outcome, and we will all have learned something.

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Thankfully, online resources regarding personal finances are plentiful. A word of warning, though, be sure to get your information from trusted sources.

Working out what works best for you is getting easier. When dealing with our creditors, which may include utility suppliers, rent, mortgage, college fees, car finance, revenue and so on, we sometimes need to hit the reset button and review our lifestyle. Difficult as it may sound, sometimes we need to examine whether we are living beyond our means and adjust accordingly. Consider why you are doing what you are doing – do you have a short or medium-term goal?

A goal in the short-term might be to get through the current pandemic as financially secure as possible. In effect, this might be setting a three-month budget. Part of that might be reviewing and maximising your income.

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This ability to look at our budget as with the Standard Financial Statement for mortgages helps us to see quickly where we can review and make changes, if possible, to work towards our goals. Sometimes this can shock us, especially when we see how much we are spending in a year on certain things. Sometimes the shock is needed to understand how our ‘well-made plans’ have been falling outside our control. For example, how much per year do we hand out but we don’t realise?

So, you’ve reviewed your budget and decided to contact your creditors. You will need to be able to make a proposal - but where to start? I’ve included some downloadable letter templates at the end of this blog with some other resources to help you plan. These can be used when getting in touch with your creditors. Our website has a self-help guide and other useful self-help tools. Money advisers are also available in over 60 locations across the country by phone, email and live chat, free of charge to provide budget guidance and help with getting in touch with your creditors.

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Everybody has different needs and wants. However, we generally need a roof over our head, food in our bellies and the essentials in life. Certain wants may need to take a break.

Well fear not, you are not alone. Make a list of things you need and a list of things you would like. Review against your short-term budget. Do they match? You may need to make some short-term decisions to get back on track, and engaging with your creditors might be on the list of actions.

The excitement I see when clients come to us and say they have been managing great and have even overcome set-backs is so rewarding. The message is that it is possible and as the old adage goes, short-term pain for long-term gain.

They learned from their recent experience how to handle it themselves. Imagine the power we would feel if we never had to worry about a bill, a knock on the door, a call from a family member you owe to, a moneylender to the door, the mortgage company, or the local credit union. The power we feel when handling our finances can be quite liberating, and although we all struggle from time to time, it is good to remember the reasons we are doing what we do.

In conclusion and until the next time:

Help is available. Money Advisers from MABS are available by phone, email and live chat to provide free help and support. Call the MABS national Helpline on 0761 07 2000 for more information or to speak with a trained Money Adviser.

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