“With one stroke of his pen £64,000 of debt was vanished. I walked out of the county court a free man as if just completing two years hard labour only to be told that it was not my fault and here is another chance.”
What follows is an account sent to us by a Pilot who wanted to share his own experiences of how he declared himself bankrupt to overcome his financial challenges and to protect his health. He makes no claims about his experience other than hoping it may be of interest and possible help to other pilots. We are tremendously grateful to him.
“Hi there another broke pilot. I declared myself bankrupt last year after completing CPL IR etc 1 year previously. The day I sat in front of the judge was the most nervous and also the most relieving of my life. With one stroke of his pen £64000 of debt was vanished. I walked out of the county court a free man as if just completing two years hard labour only to be told that it was not my fault and here is another chance.
I, like many pilots and others found myself in a position of terminal decline financially, robbing XXXX to pay XXXX with credit cards, constant negotiation with banks and later debt collection agencies and worst of all it effected my personality and relationship with my family. Deferred professional studies loans that were eagerly handed out to start, became a torment.
The most frustrating thing about all of my creditors (about 10) was that none were prepared to negotiate beyond original agreed terms. They instead sell bad debts to debt recovery units who are nasty people who send bailiffs around to beat down the door and climb through open windows. Crunch for me came three months prior to bankruptcy when I realised that my situation was unrecoverable, rather like what I imagine must run through the minds of guys in a deep stall.
You can bankrupt yourself from all debts except those incurred by a court fine or a government loan. This includes situations where a bank takes you to court and you are ordered to pay fines etc. To prevent this from happening and to completely free myself I took the plunge. £250 was all it cost (which I had to borrow) as the court waved the discretionary £90 costs due to my lack of funds.
The appointment took one week to come through. Two hours in the court house talking to the judge and the official receiver on the phone who deals with your case there after. They send out a huge questionnaire requiring about a day to complete including everything financial. Then a mutual day, time and telephone number is agreed for the official receiver to ring you to discuss your case. This was the last time I spoke with him, we never met. From day one, leaving the court house, any creditor who was informed of my bankruptcy, would break the law in contacting me, what a relief especially after a year of horrible telephone calls and letters.
I was working for an airline at the time, the same large well known airline that currently employ me on the ground. There is no need for them to know and in fact it is none of their business what my financial status is. If they asked I would tell them. It does not effect my airside pass or my disclosure (why would it) and the only way in the future that it may effect me would be in signing a bond or with XXXX where the help you arrange a loan, as a bankrupt you must declare your bankruptcy to anyone lending you more than £250. This of course is then up to them if they risk it.
My bankruptcy is very much one of misfortune as I borrowed the money in good faith with every intention of repayment, indeed had the banks agreed easier terms they would still have been paid, any airline would have to either take you on a bond or leave you.
I have a post office account now with no overdraft, deal only in cash and have nothing of any value (which helps prior to bankruptcy) it also helps to be married as the other half is not affected in any way. There are jobs that I can't do such as return to my original profession as a financial advisor or become an estate agent, oh well, that’s not why I spent the money in the first place.
I have no regrets, enjoy answering the telephone and love opening the post, I don't earn enough to contribute to my estate, and I can concentrate 100% on my future airline career. I will never borrow again out of choice (even though XXXX, one of my creditors sent me a credit card application recently, how daft is that), the other options to bankruptcy are costly and still involve a noose.
My advice is that no problem is worth loosing your health over.
Pilot experience - Finances