Putting the freeze on your debts

Last updated 05:00 13/04/2014

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Kathy had never been so sick. "I couldn't get out of bed, let alone go in to work," she says.

Sickness, and the inability to work is a common reason for bills to pile up. "Very quickly I was a long way behind in my payments, but without money coming in there was none to go out," Kathy says. "I ended up owing a lot of people a lot of money."

Kathy sat down with her budget adviser, explained what was going on, and went through a range of options.

It was clear the best option was to do a NAP, a "No Asset Procedure", which is basically one step back from a bankruptcy.

"I applied for the NAP in January last year and my debts were frozen for 12 months," Kathy says. "After that year my circumstances hadn't changed so my debts were wiped."

While this might sound great, it has significant implications. "My credit rating is now shot, so I'm not likely to get a mortgage in the next few years. My bank doesn't seem to want me as a customer any more, not to mention all the people I owed money to are really peeved that they won't get anything back."

While Kathy still feels a little guilty, she knows it was the right decision. If you're struggling, get help as early as possible so you can explore all your options.

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- Sunday News

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