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How getting active about his debts prevented Jack’s situation from spiralling out of control

When Jack, 28, moved home to start a new career, he had to rely on credit to get by each month. By using our free online debt advice tool, he was able to get the debt advice and solution he needed to ease the financial pressure and get his life back on track.

Find out how getting active about debt helped improve Jack’s situation and changed the way he feels about debt advice and people struggling with money worries.

I originally realised I had a problem with debt probably not long after I graduated, with respect to how much of my overdraft I still had and how much I was relying on credit to get through each month.

I suppose when it became an overwhelming feeling that I couldn't manage this any longer was moving away from family in Lancashire. To come and start a new job in Yorkshire ultimately pushed my finances to a point where it was borderline every month. At the time there was this doubt in the back of my mind that I shouldn't be doing this, but it's okay because I have a way to pay things off in big lump-sums.

But then I wouldn't get rid of the facility to take out more money I'd just keep it. So, it was this perpetuation that then continued. There were times when I found it hard to get to sleep because it would be the thing that churns over in my mind like, 'how do I resolve this’ so that was difficult, and took up a lot of my time to manage and deal with emotionally as well.

And then that's when I realised, I needed to seek help. So I went onto the StepChange website and used the debt management tool which identified which plan would be best for me and that was as simple as typing in my outgoings and my income. And then the plan was put in place - it was as simple as three steps.

It was almost like 'it's too good to be true' because, in all of the clauses from StepChange, it says that 'creditors can still contact you when you're on a debt management plan they may still ask you to pay more, but please contact us'. So it's almost like they've already mapped out all the scenarios that you could face after setting up the plan, and if all else fails then pick up the phone.

And when I have picked up the phone it's been nothing but support and advice and there was no judgment. It was just facts, it was 'here's my details this is what I'm looking to do'.

I like the fact that every time I speak to someone it's impartial, they don't know me, I don't know them but I just know it's going to be a respectful service and someone is going to listen.

Pre-seeking help I felt there was a real stigma attached to debt and talking about money and I think it's just this standard 'British stiff upper lip’ ‘it's my business, it's my castle, 'this is my finances, I can manage this myself'. I don't necessarily think that's true, I don't think most people are equipped to deal with finances and especially deal with debt.

Just speak about it, the moment you start to seek that help it comes pretty quick, it's not like you're on the back-burner for months on end and someone might call you and say 'okay we're happy to resolve it'.

I think from contacting StepChange to getting plan in place was about a week and from getting the first debt management plan out there and all my creditors in line was about a month. So, I would really encourage you to seek help because it will be rapid and it will be efficient.

If there's anything I'd like to do it's to thank StepChange for the help they've provided. Without having an organisation that is charity-run, with charity principles, that's not for profit, I don't feel like my debt would have been handled in such a compassionate and legitimate way. It's not a charity that only helps certain types of people, they help everyone and they provide a great service considering they are a charity.

Jack was struggling to make ends meet

Jack realised he had a debt problem when he moved away from home to start a new career. Credit had helped him get by when he was a student. Once he graduated, he was left with an overdraft and credit card debts that he struggled to repay.

“(The debt) pushed my finances to the point where it was borderline each month.”

Like many people in his situation, Jack tried to keep on top of his debts. However, he soon found himself relying on credit to pay for his everyday living costs.

“There were times when I found it hard to get to sleep, because (my debt) would be the last thing on my mind every day. That was difficult and took up a lot of my time to deal with emotionally.”

Getting active and using our online debt tool

Eventually, Jack decided to get active about his debt. He used our free online debt advice tool which gave him detailed advice and a range of debt solutions for his situation. 

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Once we knew about his debts, income, and outgoings, we could give detailed advice on what to do next. Jack decided a debt management plan (DMP) was his best option.

“The debt tool identified which solution would work best for me. It was as simple as typing out my outgoings, income and debts and then the plan was put in place.”

Supporting Jack throughout his debt solution

It didn’t take long for Jack to set up his DMP and start making more affordable payments to his debts. Questions and issues still came up from time to time, but when Jack needed our help we were here for him.

“I like the fact that every time I speak to StepChange it’s impartial and there’s no judgment. I know it’s going be a respectful service and someone’s going to listen.”

How we changed his perception of debt

Before getting advice Jack felt that he needed to deal with his situation alone. Many people often feel embarrassed or ashamed about their situation, and sometimes put off getting the help they need.

For Jack, being on a plan and dealing with his debts has changed the way he feels about people with debt problems and he’d encourage anyone to contact us.

“(Before seeking) help I felt there was a real stigma attached to debt and talking about money.
I don’t think that’s true. I don’t think that most people are equipped to deal with finances and debt.”

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