Managing debt

If you have a problem with debt, it's important not to ignore it. Money problems can quickly get worse.

There are a number of different solutions for dealing with debt. Some solutions are informal arrangements between you and the company you owe money to, or someone who is acting on their behalf. Others are formal, legally binding arrangements, which you can only use if you meet certain criteria. The options available to you will depend on whether you've got any money left over each month to put towards paying your debts off. 

It's important to have a good understanding of your situation and keep a regular check on them to avoid running into further problems. You should try to:

  • work out how much money you owe
  • make sure you know who you owe the money to (sometimes creditors will sell debts on)
  • work out if you have any spare money every month to pay your debts off 
  • identify which are the most urgent debts and if there is anything that has to be dealt with immediately.

Dealing with urgent debt problems

It's really important you always deal with urgent debt problems as soon as possible. You should do this before making longer term arrangements to deal with your other debts. Urgent debts include situations when someone is taking court action against you or has engaged a bailiff to come to your house. Or it could mean being behind with your mortgage or rent payments. 

Urgent debt problems like these can quickly get worse and have more serious consequences. You could get evicted from your home or even sent to prison.

Starting to pay off your debts

Once you have taken care of any urgent issues and have a good understanding of your situation, you can take the next steps towards dealing with your debt. You will need to work out your budget for paying back the money you owe. Then you should contact your creditors and make arrangements to pay back what you owe.


If you don't have enough money to pay off all your debts, you should get help with looking at your options.

Getting help

Experienced debt advisors can offer expert information, advice, negotiation, advocacy and professional representation on debt problems, as well as giving advice on welfare benefits. They can advise on budgeting, credit debts, mortgage, rent and Council Tax arrears, fuel and water bills, bankruptcy, repossessions and charging orders. Debt advisors may be able to help you with some of the following:

  • help you work out how much you owe
  • draw up a financial statement to see what money you have available to pay off your debt
  • check that you are actually liable for these debts
  • give you advice about what to pay first
  • help you make a plan for paying off your debt
  • negotiate with your creditors
  • Make sure you claim any benefits you may be missing out on.

There are a number of local and national services and agencies who can help by giving you advice and support on how to deal with your debt.

Local organisations:

Richmond Citizens Advice Bureau
Address: Citizens Advice Richmond, 5th Floor, Regal House, 70 London Road, Twickenham, TW1 3QS
Phone: 020 8712 7800

Richmond Aid
Address: Richmond AID, Disability Action & Advice Centre (DAAC), 4 Waldegrave Road, Teddington, TW11 8HT
Phone: 020 8831 6080

Grace Advocacy
Address: Teddington Baptist Church, 17 Church Road, Teddington, TW11 8PF and Richmond Carers Centre, 5 Briar Road, Twickenham, TW2 6RB
Phone: 020 7183 4456

Age UK Richmond
Address: Head Office: Suite 301, 3rd Floor, Parkway House, Sheen Lane, East Sheen, London SW14 8LS
Phone: 020 8878 3625
Fax: 020 8876 5387

National organisations:

Money Advice Service
Address: The Money Advice Service, Holborn Centre, 120 Holborn, London, EC1N 2TD
Phone: 0800 138 7777

Debt Advice Foundation
Phone: 0800 043 40 50