It was a bitterly cold night when Ebenezer Skint arrived home on Christmas Eve, opening the front door of his empty house.
His wife had taken herself and the children to stay at her mother’s. At least it was warm there and they would get a decent hot meal.
It didn’t feel much warmer inside. The fact that the lights were off made it feel quite spooky. Two days ago, the electricity was cut off.
He had picked up a Noodlypot on the way home. However, he threw it across the room when he remembered that he could not boil the kettle.
To get away from the cold and hunger, he lay on the sofa and forced himself to sleep.
After several hours, his slumber was interrupted by a tap on the shoulder.
He jumped with a start, his heart thumping inside his chest. He tried to leap to his feet but tripped over in the dark. From the floor, he looked up at a sinister silhouette.
“Who are you? What do you want – I haven’t any money,” shrieked Ebenezer.
I know – that’s why I am here. I am the Ghost of Finance Past
He took Ebenezer through the last eighteen months of his life. Through a time when all the bills were paid before a series of unexpected events threw his life into disarray. Firstly, his wife had become pregnant, which had not been planned. She held a good job and actually earned more than he did. Their new son was born prematurely, further complications resulted in Ebenezer taking time off work to be with his family.
And then, quite unexpectedly, his wife was made redundant shortly after returning to work. Their income plummeted and the bills started to pile up. Then his own employers cut back his hours, and his income. The Ghost explained that two more ghosts would visit him before the night was out.
A couple of hours passed and a different shadowy outline seemed to drift in through a wall. The Ghost of Finance Present.
She pointed out what Ebenezer was all too aware of. The unpaid credit cards, bank over its overdraft limit, refusal of direct debits and the worry that the mortgage company would repossess his home.
By this time, Ebenezer was terrified of what the third ghost would tell him. He knew it involved the future and what it held for him. Visualising a worst case scenario in which he was be bankrupt, his wife would leave him returning to her mother’s (until she met somebody else…), the repossession of the house and he would become homeless. He would have hit the bottle, but he couldn’t afford to.
However, the Ghost of Future Solvency wasn’t that scary.
He explained to Ebenezer that the worst course of action was inertia. He needed to work quickly and take advice from a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner, such as Wilson Field, who would help him tackle his problems head on and arrange an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA).
Reaching a formal arrangement with creditors would mean Ebenezer making one affordable, single payment. It also wouldn’t involve losing his home as long as he kept his mortgage payments up to date.
Ebenezer was overjoyed!
And the moral to this Christmas Tale? If you have financial problems, ignore them at your peril! Take advice from experts and they will help you get back on your feet financially, getting off to a good start in the New Year.