I have been reading along with The Guardian’s Diary of a Debtor. If you haven’t been reading, you really should pop over and have a look.
It follows the diary of the author’s battle to get out from under crippling debt – debt that was hidden from his wife, and that was basically ruining his life. He’s now in the process of deciding whether to take on an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement), or take the money offered by a wealthy family member in order to pay off the IVA agreement in one fell swoop.
One of the most interesting aspects of the diary – and something that makes it very different to regular PF blogs that chronicle the author’s attempts to pay down debt – is that the people who comment on the posts are just regular Guardian readers; not the sort of people who comment on usual PF blogs (like you and me), who are actively interested in the topic to begin with.
This really gives an interesting new perspective to the way personal debt is regarded by the general public. And that is often with scorn, derision, and a ‘you got yourself into it, you get yourself out of it’ attitude. Some of the comments are totally cold, while others show genuine concern and offer helpful advice.
The range of responses to the current post – whether or not to take the cash from a family member to repay the debt – is one of the most interesting. I don’t know how I feel about IVAs in general. I know that some people really have no other option, as in they are literally drowning, and are completely unable to cover their debt repayments and living costs. But I think a lot of people see them as a free ride, or get out of jail free card. Considering the alternative though (bankruptcy) and the long-term effect they have on your credit rating, I don’t think it’s a decision anyone takes lightly.
But taking money from a family member? That’s a tough call. No matter how terrible and down on yourself you might feel by being in such serious debt in the first place, I can’t help but wonder if being bailed out by a family member (or friend for that matter), would be even worse. If I were in that position, I might be tempted to take the IVA, simply for the fact that I’d probably feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment at the end when the agreement came to its end; which might make it worthwhile. But, never having been in that position, I simply don’t know.
What do you think? Would you let a family member repay your debt?