Being in a situation where the repayments on the money you owe amount to more than the money you have coming in is a situation which no-one wants to find themselves in. However, even in cases where a debtor has been very prudent to not borrow beyond his or her means, there can be unforeseen changes in circumstances, which can suddenly change the situation from one of manageable proportions to exactly the opposite. If you find yourself in a situation of having more debt than you can meet the original repayments on – don’t panic! There is much that can be done to considerably reduce the severity of the problem, and indeed, to take it from a seemingly totally unmanageable situation to one, which can be dealt with, with much less pain and worry that you may at first have thought.

In 1992, for the first time, the Citizens Advice Bureau reported that people seeking help with debt problems was the single largest category of advice sought, pushing advice about state benefits into second place. Overall, between 1979 and 1988 enquiries regarding problems with debt more than doubled.

Although the overall situation in the UK concerning the level of bad debts is appalling, the one silver lining to this big black cloud is that most banks and other lending institutions are now very used to dealing with people who end up with serious repayment problems.

So, whatever reason or reasons you have for ending up in the unpleasant and harrowing situation of being unable to make ends meet, there are literally millions like you in the UK today.

The sad irony of our system of credit is that people who most need to borrow money are offered the least attractive terms for borrowing. If you have little or no collateral, or if your income is very low, then the terms of any loans you will have access to are considerably less attractive than those available to people with higher incomes and an abundance of collateral.

So you have people who can freely borrow money at very attractive rates of interest who really could manage without the borrowing, and you have a much larger number of people who would dearly love to be able to borrow at such low rates of interest as these richer folks enjoy, but who are severely penalised in this area when they feel the need to borrow.

The golden rule is, as many of you will have learnt to your cost, is to never borrow that which you cannot realistically afford to repay. This of course doesn’t really cover people who have suddenly lost employment after having taken out credit in the belief that their job was secure.

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