Friday 15 December 2017

'Don't ever let your creditors bully you'

Like a lot of Irish people, property has been the reason Ray Langan's finances have crashed and burned.

A qualified accountant and financial adviser, he was riding high during the boom years.

After completing his accountancy exams in 2004, five years later he saw himself as a successful business owner, property investor and share trader.

All seemed to be going swimmingly for the young man in a hurry from Rush, Co Dublin.

In 2006 he co-founded financial consultancy and tax planning company The Wealth Shop.

All was going so well that he was hand picked by state jobs creation agency, Enterprise Ireland, for a special "hothouse programme" for promising entrepreneurs.

He even appeared on Dragon's Den in 2009 promoting an internet business idea.

By now he was starting to build up massive debts, with his personal debts (aside from mortgage debt) hitting €150,000.

But then the property market crashed and he got chewed up in the chaos, like so many others.

He was also hit by the collapse in stock markets.

The failure to get the internet business approved for funding on Dragon's Den left him without a business, without a job and without an income.

Suddenly his creditors started to circle, and he had to get his act together fast.

"The first thing you have to do is take responsibility for your debts. You have to stop borrowing and immediately start communicating with your creditors," he said.

Mr Langan said it was important to sit down and work out exactly what you owe and to whom.

"Offer your creditors what you can pay each month, after you have enough money to live on. Do not let them bully you," he added.

He says it is important to save €1,000 into an emergency fund as quickly as possible.

And try and get whatever work you can, he advocates. Mr Langan has worked at selling school journals and doing grinds for students to get cash flowing again.

Once you agree a repayment schedule with your creditors use any bonus payments, or other windfalls, to accelerate the paying off of your debt.

Now in his 30s, Mr Langan works in sales and he also delivers seminars and is a financial coach.

Mr Langan has managed to knock €50,000 of his debt pile in 18 months and has now written a book on how to do it -- I'm In Debt, Get Me Out Of It!.

He sees an urgent need for a non-judicial debt settlement system, like the one they have in the UK, so people could see their way out of paying their debts in a period of two to five years.

Irish Independent

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