Managing Your Debt Pro-Actively

John Vaughan (Financial Advisor) @ Lucid Living

It’s often said that a problem shared is a problem halved – yet fewer than a fifth of adults in the UK have someone to confide in about their financial worries, according to research by the Money Advice Service.

The same study shows that 76 per cent of us feel happier about life in general when we feel good about our finances, indicating that many people would benefit from the therapeutic influence of a Money Mate.

“Talking to a friend is often the first step to dealing with a problem. We all need someone to turn to for help and advice from time to time,” says Kay Moodley, financial well-being psychologist at Lucid Living.

“When you join Credit Fix from Lucid Living you get your own Money Mate – a personal credit counselor that you can talk to about your financial circumstances. Your Money Mate will help you see how well you’re coping with your current credit and debt commitments and advise you on what you’ll need to do to get access to more credit or how to get the best credit terms or how to improve your credit worthiness,” says Kate Thambiran, Managing Director of Lucid Living.

Like the advice of a good friend, these tips can help you feel more in control of your financial situation – and your life in general.

Tidy up your finances
• Go through statements and bills to find out where your money is going – and, if necessary, where you can cut back.
• Your credit report is your financial CV – it lists your credit accounts, from cards and loans to mobile phone accounts, along with your repayment record. Lenders use it to assess whether you are a reliable borrower, so it needs to be accurate and up to date. This information is crucial for your Money Mate to give you accurate and objective advice. Get your credit report now.
• Your Money Mate can assist you with any questions or clarity you need, on the information in your credit report. Check personal details, such as your name, address and ID number, and if you see a discrepancy your Money Mate will contact the credit bureau and ask for an amendment, as even a minor error could mean your credit rating is affected.
• Missed and late payments stay on your credit report for up to three years, which has a negative effect on your credit rating. If there is an error notify your Money Mate who will dispute the information with the credit bureau and have it corrected.

Tackle excess spending
• Make a note of your income and outgoings, then set a realistic budget. This may be easier said than done – if you need help or advice call on your Money Mate. Having an objective view will help set a realistic budget that you can stick to. Set yourself a long-term goal, such as paying off a credit card or saving for a house or car.
• Price comparison sites can help your money go further, by finding cheaper alternatives to your current banking and insurance needs.
• Regular treats such as coffee, sandwiches, glossy magazines and nights out can soon add up, so cut down or find cheaper alternatives.
• Don’t be tempted to use a credit card to pay your bills or homeloan and avoid borrowing on one card to pay off another unless you’re sure it’s a better deal – but always read the small print carefully before you commit. Discuss your plans and options with your Money Mate – professional objective advice will assist you to make better informed financial decisions.

Stay financially aware
• If your circumstances change or you are struggling, talk to your Money Mate who can negotiate with your creditors – they may be able to adjust your payment schedule to make it more affordable. Ignoring problems could result in court action or even repossession of your home and car, both of which stay on your credit report for at least five years and make it impossible to borrow.
• Check your credit score regularly to monitor your progress. If it rises, you should qualify for better deals – and that will save you cash. Get your credit score now.