Julia has worked for PayPlan for ten 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 Julia tells her story of how she turned her finances around…
How did you find yourself in debt?
My marriage had broken down, leaving me with a bulk of debt in my name.
Over the years, I’d been so impatient wanting to get everything done – things like doing up our marital home – and spoiling my young daughters.
I took out loans and found it easy to pop things on a credit card or add to a loan.
If I wanted something, I wanted it now. But I’ve since learnt this isn’t the way to be.
When did it become a problem for you?
My debt became a problem when my husband left and my Mum died. Mum used to support me financially too, so I’d effectively lost two incomes. I was drowning in about £26,000 worth of debt.
What made you decide to contact PayPlan?
It was my friend’s daughter who told me to ring PayPlan. I went through the entire debt advice process – crying most of my way through the call. I found it such a relief to talk about my money problems.
I’ve always been a very open book and have brought my two daughters up the same. I just believe in being honest and taking ownership of your life.
Did you realise there was help out there?
Whilst I was working nights at a care home in Newark, my friend’s daughter kindly babysat for me. She also worked at PayPlan and was a real catalyst in me making that step.
I was 45, but had no idea there would be a debt solution out there for me.
After my friend’s daughter explained about how different plans work, I went into a Debt Management Plan (DMP).
Are you still in debt now?
I sold my family home and moved into a rental cottage in a village around 20 years ago. I used the proceeds from the sale of my house to pay off my DMP and finally managed to pay off my overdraft.
What would you say to other people in the same situation?
I tell clients I know what it’s like to be in debt and there is a way out. I know what it’s like to feel like you’re drowning with the hourly phone calls and letters landing every day. I also know what it’s like to have young children, lose a parent and go through a marriage breakdown – all at the same time.
I let clients know that I’ll help them to sort out their financial situation, just like my advisers did when I contacted PayPlan.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Even though I do this job, it doesn’t mean I’ve always been good with my own money.
There’s definitely a lack of education [in schools etc]. For example, lots of people have a credit card but don’t realise they’re in debt. It’s a grey area – often you can speak to someone well-educated, and they have no idea about debt – this goes across the board.
It’s important in my role to be able to pick up on the signs that someone needs that extra reassurance or support. It’s about really listening to what they’re saying.
The fact I’ve been through the whole debt process means I can build a great rapport with customers.
I’m living proof there is light at the end of the debt tunnel – and I have PayPlan to thank for giving me my life back.
If you’d like to speak to PayPlan about your finances, and see how we can help you get back on track, click here.