A Clients Story
“While my name is withheld for privacy reasons, I want to share my story to show you what is possible when you have Visage Group batting for you.
in 2013/14 and 2014/15 as the Aussie economy seemed to stall, my annual income from self employment was on average less than half, of the average of the previous years but my fixed expenses remained largely the same. At first I thought I could ride it out and when our savings were exhausted, refinanced our home to have funds to make up the income shortfall and to invest in new business initiatives.
Then at the end of 2015 my business failed and panic set in. I had waited too long and there were no funds left to pay for a voluntary administration /insolvency process and I could not face dealing with creditors starting formal proceedings. So I opted to cover the business debts personally putting further pressure on our personal finances. My high interest credit cards and unsecured loans were all maxed out.
So bagan a process of frantically dusting off the CV and applying for jobs while researching on the internet and social media to find advice and help with debt levels that were unmanageable. But there were no job offers, indeed no interviews even, as it was so long since I was an employee. And all the free counselling services and debt management websites I contacted and who called me back were recommending solutions that were ‘formal bankruptcy proceedings’ in one form or another. (None would meet me face to face).
But when I read the fine print regarding the long term consequences for my credit file (and for me as a company director) of any kind of formal bankruptcy solutions I just could not go there. My days were filled with phone calls chasing payments, and my nights were largely spent lying awake in a cold sweat from fear of losing everything including my partner.
Then I came across Visage and met them for a free consultation. In 30 minutes I learned that there was another way and I left the office feeling like a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders and for the first time in ages I slept through the night.
I filled in the forms and provided all the information asked for and within a week or so, the creditor phone calls and letters of demand had stopped and interest charges were frozen on all unsecured creditor accounts. Soon after our bank agreed to a mortgage payment holiday for 6-months and our car finance company agreed to a 3-month payment holiday. We could breath again.
We used the time to put our house on the market so we could sell it on our terms before the bank sold it on theirs. This was a difficult decision to begin with but by the end we accepted it was for the best and began looking forward to a new start somewhere else once we saw we could get a much nicer house to rent for about half of our mortgage payment.
Then it was a matter of waiting patiently for Visage to do their thing and negotiate a settlement with the creditors I assigned to them. And in the end they did settle for about half of the debt amount on average which I was able to cover from the property sale and income earned during the payment holiday period.
And so now life begins again with a new business. We have no assets to our name, it is true, but nor do we have any debts we cannot manage. And we have learned a valuable lesson. Life has its ups and downs and it pays to act early rather than wait for things to ‘get back to normal’. If I had looked for and found Visage a year earlier I would have had a much better business and personal outcome.
But compared to the outcome if we had not found Visage we are fortunate. We can begin again with a credit file rating that still says ’Very Good’ and with no bankruptcy related consequences. And we sleep through the night….. most nights”.