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A recent article by Lisa O’Carroll highlighted the interesting phenomenon of bankruptcy tourists from Ireland heading to the UK to discharge their debts. Due to more favourable insolvency laws – a bankrupt in the UK is discharged after just twelve months, whereas in Ireland it’s a draconian twelve years – Irish debtors are doing the sensible thing and crossing the sea for a quick release from debt.

Fish 'n' Chips, Tea, Becoming Debt Free

The most fascinating revelation in the article was that, ‘as few as 29 people were made bankrupt in Ireland last year’, a staggeringly low number considering the severity of the property crash in the Republic, especially when compared to the 79,000 who went bankrupt in the UK during the same period. It’s not difficult to deduce that the UK is effectively operating as Ireland’s bankruptcy court, which is considerably more helpful to Irish citizens than another bailout loan. Although ascertaining exactly how many of the UK’s bankrupts are made up of Irish citizens would be difficult, and clearly some Irish debtors will be eloping overseas without bothering with any formal debt discharge procedures (I would love to hear from you guys).

I just hope the message is getting through to the people at the bottom. The Irish banks have had their bailout, in turn subjecting citizens to some of the most brutal cuts in Europe. Now we hear tales of Irish property speculators bailing themselves out, by utilising UK laws. I’ve already called for a ‘People’s Bailout’, and now I extend this call to the people of Ireland – don’t be the chump left with a sackful of debt whilst everyone else extricates themselves from the mess. Get yourselves over to the UK and get rid of that debt!

Update: I have found a great article with information for Irish citizens wishing to go bankrupt in the UK. If you wish to know more then click here.

With massive student protests taking place in London today I’ve noticed a lot of web chatter about potentially putting oneself through university, racking up the fees and then declaring yourself bankrupt afterwards. A very shrewd move. However, this loophole was closed years ago after a few canny students began doing this. But the idea is a good one.

Sing for Free Education!

My advice would be to pay off the student loans with personal loans and credit cards before going bankrupt. However, one needs to be very careful here. The authorities are not stupid and could either reject your bankruptcy petition, or slap with you with a restriction order that lasts a decade. For this reason I would allow a good stretch of time to pass after paying off the student loans, keep racking up as much debt as possible – have ball whilst you’re at it – and then press the bankruptcy button a year or two down the line. I’m not sure whether this would work but I’d love to see somebody try. Well, it has been a day of protest and revolt…

Beneath the headlines lies the truth

The latest insolvency figures were published today and the headlines were all about the fact that there had been a sharp drop in personal bankruptcies during the third quarter of 2010 (the lowest level for five years). However, the total number of people declared insolvent during this period only fell 3.7% on the same period a year ago. This is because other forms of insolvency, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and Debt Relief Orders (DROs), have become more popular. It’s not that fewer people are struggling with debt and deciding to walk away from it, it’s just that they are choosing to free themselves in a different way.

My personal view is that this slight dip in insolvencies will be very temporary. Once the impact of the government cuts are felt, and if interest rates rise (they have to someday), those on the precipice will be tipped over the edge. 

80% Choose FreedomBy George! It's so easy to choose life and walk away from dreary debt

Another interesting fact was revealed in a statement from an insolvency practitioner, who said that,

 “More than eight out of 10 bankruptcies were made on petition of the debtor, which shows that many people have had enough and are throwing in the towel. They have been living with the pressure of debt for too long.”

So eighty percent of bankrupt’s chose this option for themselves rather than being forced into it, a heartening statistic that demonstrates that people are waking up to the fact that they can easily free themselves from the scourge of debt and the rule of the banks.

It’s time to laugh in the face of debt. Whether you just want some light-hearted relief from the gloom of indebtedness, or have serious rebellious intentions then you’re in the right place.

  • Check out my roll call of illustrious bankrupt’s in the Bankruptcy Heroes section.
  • Read my from my novel, The Bankruptcy Diaries, as I post entries from the book.
  • You are not alone – peruse the Problem Page to hear tales of debt woe and life enhancing solutions.
  • Learn the stories of Debt Fugitives, the international community of people on the run from the long arm of the debt recovery agencies

 

This Friday sees the release of the annual insolvency tally for 2009, with more alarming statistics expected to highlight our ongoing struggle with over-indebtedness.

Did you make the 2009 Honours List?

As a result of our appetite for credit, and the bank’s willingness to feed it, individual insolvencies in England & Wales have more than doubled since 46,650 people were declared insolvent in 2004. 2008 saw a total of 106,544 people either declared bankrupt, or using Individual Voluntary Arrangements to reduce their debts, (an increase of 128% in four years).   

Figures for the first three quarters of 2009 suggest that the past year will be another record-breaker, with at least 130,000 people expected to have been declared insolvent.

The 2009 figures would surely be much worse, were it not for artificially low interest rates, which are currently enabling many to keep their heads just above water and remain solvent. With 2010 likely to see these extraordinary measures gradually being removed, record bankruptcies will continue to make future headlines.   

The 2009 insolvency figures will be released by the Insolvency Service Friday 5 February 2010 at 9.30 a.m.

Another Bankruptcy Poster Boy

Why you shouldn’t worry about people finding out about your bankruptcy.

One of the principal concerns for debtors contemplating insolvency is the prospect of being ‘named and shamed’, and of people finding out about their bankruptcy. As a frequenter of debt forums, this is a topic I see regularly in posts from those seriously considering this option. It seems that people are keen to use bankruptcy as a way of discharging their debt, so long as nobody finds out.

On one hand, this concern is understandable; in weighing up the pros and cons of bankruptcy, perhaps the most disturbing disadvantage for a debtor to discover is that their bankruptcy is automatically advertised in the press. Immediately this conjures up powerful images of a prominent notice bearing your name and status for all to see. However, this is not as alarming as it sounds – for the reality is less dramatic.

A person’s bankruptcy is indeed advertised, but either in The London Gazette or the local press. The former is the ‘Official Newspaper of Record for the UK’, highly unlikely to be read by friends, family or employers. In terms of local press advertisements, unless you associate with people who have a keen interest in scouring the ‘Notices’ section, it is equally unlikely that your bankruptcy will become common knowledge. The advertisement of bankruptcy is more of a procedural requirement rather than an attempt to bring about public disgrace.  The only people who have genuine cause for concern over the advertisement of their bankruptcy are public figures. Fortunately it is only celebrities who have to suffer the ignominy of a truly publicised bankruptcy.

Another thing to consider is that we do not live in the middle ages where a parlous financial situation would have been the talk of the town, and everybody was far more likely to know your business. We live in an age of faceless corporations and anonymous cities. In this context, what is it to a man if an advertisement of his bankruptcy appears in a newspaper? Even if it were to be plastered on billboards on ever major road into town it would simply become lost amongst the morass of messages and slogans that bombard us from every angle and available surface.

Whilst public humiliation should not be a concern for most debtors, if you rent your property it is likely that the Official Receiver or trustee will inform your landlord of your bankruptcy. If you have always paid the rent on time, you should reassure your landlord that without any debts, you’ll have no problems with the rent. If your landlord is unhappy with the situation, it is recommended that you seek legal advice. Unless you count your landlord in your circle of friends and they regularly join you for pint in the pub, the issue of your insolvency will remain private. 

So, if the prospect of being ‘outed’ is all that is stopping you from discharging your debt and reclaiming your life, then you’ve really nothing to worry about. Neither friends, family, or work colleagues, will find out about your bankruptcy unless you choose to tell them, providing your name isn’t MC Hammer.

Personal debt is the scourge of our generation
 
The era of easy credit may be over, at least for the foreseeable future, but for the thousands of people saddled with huge credit card and personal loan debts from a decade of laissez faire lending, the legacy of debt misery is still very much an issue of the day.

The predatory lending propagated by the avaricious banks and lending institutions has created a new class of modern day serfs enslaved to the minimum payment. The lenders have gambled on the compliance of the masses – that the people would simply blame themselves and continue to pay. It’s time to throw off the shackles and reclaim our lives.

An easy way out

Historically, bankruptcy has always been seen as something to be feared and avoided – but not any more. The rules have changed. We may live in an age when indebtedness has never been so widespread, but at the same time it has never been easier to discharge your debt through the streamlined insolvency laws in Britain. These days bankruptcy is a doddle, no more difficult than filling out a loan application. If you’ve no assets then you’ve nothing to lose. Bankruptcy really has become a legitimate lifestyle choice for the debt generation.

Why struggle?

Why strive to pay off thousands of pounds of debt to keep those at the top of the economic pyramid comfortable in their penthouse apartments and fancy restaurants? Bankers are still partying like it’s 2007, drawing obscene bonuses for fixing the mess they created, whilst the dole queues grow and the national debt balloons. As the champagne continues to flow in the city, the people fret and strive to keep up with their payments. The government will do nothing to redress this gross inequality except offer empty rhetoric. Your continuing compliance also keeps the system propped up. The answer? Hang your debts and start living.

A.N. Other

Debt Renegade

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