Worrying about Debt – it’s easy to “Help Yourself”
The Office of Fair Trading has produced a new leaflet so people can “help themselves” to manage their money and debts.
The Office’s Debt Counsellors provide a valuable service to those people who are experiencing difficulties in managing their money and will continue to do so. You may though prefer to deal with your money concerns yourself and the Office has developed the leaflet to provide you with the information you need to do so.
The “Helping Yourself – to sort out your debts” leaflet contains information on how to identify your priority debts and how to work out your budget as well as a model letter you can use to contact your creditors. This leaflet backs up the other money management information and advice which is available on the Office’s website www.gov.im/oft. The website has a number of interactive money management tools so you can input your own information and the tools will do the calculations for you.
You can be assured though that if you would rather talk to someone about managing your debts that the Debt Counsellors will still be there to help you. The Debt Counselling Service, which is a free confidential service can be contacted on 686510 or by calling in at the Office counter in Lord Street Douglas.
The Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading Mr Bill Henderson commenting on the new leaflet said “The Debt Counselling Service is a vital one and in these more difficult financial times it is essential that it is available for people. We know though that some people for whatever reason would rather not contact the service and so that is why the Office has produced the “Helping Yourself – to sort out your debts” leaflet. But people should know that the Service is here for them if they need it. Our Debt Counsellors have helped over 190 during the last 12 months. The service is completely confidential. If you are burdened and stressed due to debt problems, the worst thing that you can do is to hide from them or ignore them, they usually get worse. We are here to help.”
Each January the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading sees an increase in the number of people approaching them for debt counselling help. The Service works with their clients to enable them to prioritise their debts and make affordable repayments to their creditors. Between April 2009 and March 2010 the Service helped 194 clients manage a total debt of £5,356,134. This is an average debt of just under £27,609 per client. Credit card debt accounted for almost 35% of the total owed during this period with almost 43% of the clients seen sighting poor budgeting as the reason for their debts. Compiling a realistic household budget is therefore important for anyone trying to gain and stay in control of their finances.