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Tackling your debts

What happens at an annual review and why are they so important?

Posted 19 October 2015

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If you’re on a debt solution it’s important that a review of your finances is carried out yearly. Find out why here.

If you’re on a debt solution, such as an IVA or debt management plan, your debt adviser or insolvency practitioner (IP) will need to carry out an annual review. You may be asking why it’s necessary for you to go through the whole process of giving all the details of your incomings and outgoings once again. But it’s really important to make sure that the debt solution you are currently on is still the best one for your circumstances.

What information will I need for my annual review?

You’ll really only need to send your debt advisor the details and proof of your income and expenditure. You can do this by providing copies of your bank statements, payslips (if you’re working) and any benefit payment notifications, along with proof of changes to any bills (for example if your gas bill has gone up). If you have had changes to your mortgage or rent payments, you can usually evidence details of the increase, or decrease, via your bank statement. If this isn’t sufficient for some reason we may request additional evidence.

It would be helpful to have a copy of your P60 too, if you work, as this will detail and confirm what you’ve earned that year and what’s been paid out in tax too. You’ll also need to provide details of any other income you’ve received that’s boosted your overall income.

Why is this information required?

All this information is required because if your income has changed you may find that the debt solution you are on is no longer the best fit for your circumstances. Now, this can go both ways, maybe your situation has changed so that are now struggling to maintain your payments. If this is the case, your debt advisor or IP would either reduce the payments themselves, or try to negotiate lower payments with your lenders on your behalf. And, if you’ve had an up-turn in your fortunes, but your expenses have remained the same, you will be probably be expected, depending on your debt solution, to pay more. This means your debts will be paid off more quickly.

 

And to finish off, it’s important to make it clear that debt solutions are not a simple solution to clearing your unmanageable debt. They are a way to help you ease the burden and stress of your debts, but they also have side-effects, in both the short and long term, on your credit score. And this can mean that when you try to get credit in the future, or try to apply for certain jobs, you may find it tricky and if a lender decides to say yes, it could be much more expensive than it would be for those with great credit scores.   

by Shelley Bowers

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.