So its now over 3 months since I was made Bankrupt. Time really flies and I can honestly say it is the best decision I have ever made. I thought I would write a bit about my meeting with the Official Receiver. That was what I was really worrying about and I expect a lot of other people feel the same way. I hope I can offer some reassurance.
As I mentioned before the OR called me the morning after I was made Bankrupt at the Court. The first call only took 5 minutes. The lady said they were still waiting for my paperwork to come through from the Court but wanted to put a date in the diary for an interview with me. The date we agreed on was a week away. I have to say the wait after that felt like a year. I couldn’t sleep well and found it difficult to think about anything else.
During the week I received a letter from the OR asking me to send in 12 months of bank statements and credit card statements which was no problem. I also had to sign a form letting the OR speak to HMRC about my tax payments. I was a bit concerned about this at first as I had not expected it. I called James and he said it was absolutely normal and nothing to worry about. You can tell how jumpy I was.
I think I had built myself up into a frenzy about the meeting but you know what, there really was no need. My interview turned out to be no big deal. James had said to me that I had nothing to hide and so there was no need to be worried but you know how it is, all the reassurance in the world does not mean you stop worrying. When I actually spoke to the OR she was not scary at all and in fact pretty helpful. She went through my income and living expenses figures in quite a lot of detail asking me what we spend money on. But as it turned out she was happy with all the figures I had used. In fact even suggested that I should add a small budget for holidays.
I will have to pay £100 a month towards my debts and I know that this payment will last for 3 years. The one thing that I am reassured about though is that if my income goes down for any reason the amount I am paying can be reduced or even stopped if necessary.
To be honest I was hoping that I would not need to give anything towards my debts but James had warned me that it might be the case. Having said that it is a small price to pay to be debt free in a few years compared to what I was looking at originally. Plus three months in I can honestly say we are far more comfortable now than we were before my bankruptcy. We are now paying the bills as they come in without having to worry and are actually being able to put money aside each month so we can pay for things like car repairs when they come up. It is an amazing feeling.
The OR was not interested in any of our things and was happy with the value of the car. I explained I used the excess money I got from the sale of the old car to pay for the bankruptcy and some living expenses. They were fine with that.
As James said the OR did not say anything about the equity in the house so I brought it up. I said I would like to buy back my equity. The OR asked me to send in the valuation I have got and said someone else would be in contact with me about that once they had reviewed everything. That all happened in January and we have agreed I can buy my half back for 1250 plus fees which my Parents have really kindly agreed to lend us.
As I said before one of the reasons I had never considered bankruptcy was because I believed that we would automatically lose the house. I am so relieved that I don’t have to move my family because of my mistakes. I am not sure how I would have dealt with the guilt.
The evening after the interview I was telling my wife all about it and she just cried. I felt awful but she said it was from relief and I have to say I had to hold it in myself because I knew what she meant. It has been so long that I have felt consumed by my debts and now I really see light at the end of the tunnel. I may be bankrupt but I feel like I have some control over the finances again and everything is not just spiralling.
To anyone reading this thinking about Bankruptcy please believe me when I say that with the right help and advice the process really is not as scary as you think it is going to be. Having the help from James at beat My Debt has been priceless. I will write again soon to let you know how the year is going.