Jane has worked for PayPlan for over 20 years as a debt adviser. She uses her own experience of being in debt to help and support others who want to take back financial control.

Here Jane tells her story of how she turned her finances around…

How did you find yourself in debt?
I had been self-employed for many years, successfully running courses for children who wanted to study English as a second language. But in 2001, my business failed due to circumstances beyond my control.

I was soon back in employment, working for a language school that was running courses over a 12-week period for students coming from as close as France to as far away as Japan. However, as I was self-employed and the only income into the household, I’d been finding it hard to ends meet for some time.

One day, I tried to make my mortgage payment, but the payment didn’t go through. I had loans outstanding to the bank which they’d taken the money for first, so there was nothing left to pay my mortgage. I realised I’d been running at a deficit of £500 for some time and I didn’t know what to do. On top of that, I had other debts that had got out of control, which ended up with me having a CCJ and bailiffs knocking on my door. My husband was a stay-at-home househusband, and he was in a terrible state. I knew I had to do something. 

What made you decide to contact PayPlan?
I didn’t know what to do about my debts, so I reached out to PayPlan. I completed a full assessment with an adviser, and we looked through what was going to be affordable for me to pay to my creditors each month. I didn’t have any disposable income, so she suggested I offer a £1 payment to each creditor. I never thought it would work, I never thought the creditors would accept it, but they did, and it helped me to focus on getting my life back on track.

What’s happened in the years since?
I made token payments for a few years until I found I was more financially stable. I contacted PayPlan and asked for a job. My application was successful, and I started helping other people with their debts. I learnt how to do the job and throughout my career at PayPlan I’ve always been able to relate to their situations and even tell them they aren’t on their own. I’ve been there too and done it. I’ve always had a lot of empathy with people as debt doesn’t discriminate. Throughout the years, I’ve heard colleagues say on the phone they know people in a similar situation, and others mention they’ve been there too.

I’ve always been really proud to represent PayPlan. 

I’m passionate about debt advice, helping people, and have not only completed a Certificate in Proficiency and Personal Insolvency, but also passed my MIMA Certification (Member of the Institute of Money Advisors).

As time went by, I started to share my experiences and became a member of the IMA (Institute of Money Advisors). After going to the Money Advice Group in Norwich, I became a representative to the council – and then the Board. Following this, I stood for election, and I’m now in my second and final term as Chair! 

What would you say to other people in the same situation? What’s your advice for anyone feeling too embarrassed/judged to reach out?

I would say pick up the phone. The people on the end of the line may well have been in a similar situation to what you are, and they are there to help. It costs nothing to get help. It’s free, totally confidential and you’re under no obligation.

We want to put you into a position where you can make an informed decision on which step you want to take. You are a name to us, not just a ’number’.

Help if you’re struggling to keep up with debt repayments

If you’re struggling with debt repayments and want to get on top of them, PayPlan can help. There are many ways to get in touch, click here to find out more.