A Day in the Life of a Money AdviserDate published: 7th December 2021
CARF’s Money Advisers provide information, advice and assistance to clients who are struggling with debt.
Although my working location may have changed and I see much more of my own house, the advice and support I give to clients remains the same.
8:30 am – My day begins by logging into all systems including the Duty Money Adviser phone line. That will be my main duty for the morning.
As Duty Adviser, I will deal with any urgent queries that are received on our Money Advice helpline, such as court action for rent or mortgage arrears or other debts, receipt of court documents like a Charge for Payment or any other queries that are complex or time sensitive.
The first call I deal with is from a client who has received a Charge for Payment for Council Tax arrears. They are very distressed as they have lost their job due to the pandemic and have fallen behind with a number of bills and payments.
I explain what the Charge for Payment is; it can be a very intimidating document to receive especially for someone who has never experienced financial difficulties before.
They are reassured by the information given and the next step is to deal with this as it is time sensitive. I make contact with the Sheriff Officer that has issued the Charge for Payment and a 6 week hold on any action is agreed to allow the client time to engage with CARF and receive advice.
I then provide the client with information about how to apply for Council Tax Reduction and other benefits that are relevant to their situation. As there are other debts in addition to Council Tax and I suggest an appointment with a Money Adviser. The client is issued with some paperwork to complete and return to us so an appointment can be arranged with one of my colleagues or myself.
Today’s Duty session is quiet so in between calls until the end of the session at lunch time I complete case notes and our case management system for the 2 appointments I conducted the previous day.
These appointments included a client who had previously had regular employment in a high income job but a decline in health had meant they could no longer work and had to claim benefits. I gave advice about benefit entitlement, property repossession, applying for local authority housing and explained all debt options available.
That client decided to apply for Bankruptcy, so we reviewed the process and next steps and I provided written confirmation of this and the supporting paperwork they will need. The client expressed a lot of feelings of shame regarding the position they had found themselves in. Unfortunately there is still a lot of stigma about debt but for the majority of our clients their debt issues are caused by circumstances out with their control.
Mental health, a decline in physical health, loss of employment or a breakdown in a relationship are just some of the reasons that someone can find themselves in debt. An important part of the advice I give is to explain legislation, processes and the long term impact of any options chosen as well as explaining any misconceptions a client may have.
12:30 - 1:30 pm - I take a break for lunch and to step away from my desk.
1:30 pm - Now it’s time to deal with the emails and voicemails that have been received throughout the morning while I have been Duty Money Adviser.
As a Money Adviser I may only provide support to a client for a short period but some cases can span several months and it is not unusual to receive contact from clients for a number of years depending on their circumstances.
One of the emails today is from a client that has been repaying their debts via the Debt Arrangement Scheme since 2018 and is months away from making their final payment. They received a letter from a creditor asking for payments to be made to them and the client is concerned they now have an additional debt to pay.
I carry out some investigation and establish one of the debts has been sold to another creditor. I make a ‘Variation’ request via the DAS online portal which means the payments will now be diverted to the new owner of the debt. The client is relieved that there is no additional debts outstanding and is excited at the prospect of soon being debt free for the first time in a number of years.
3:30 pm – I receive an email from a colleague requesting some advice with a complex case, so we have quick brainstorm by telephone, carry out some research and an action plan for the case is decided.
4 pm – I receive an email inviting me to a team meeting – even though we are not in the office we are still regularly conducting meetings via Teams or Zoom. It’s nice to catch up with colleagues and share information. I make a final check of my emails and diary to prepare for the next day.
4:30 pm – Time to hang up my headphones and log off the laptop. The end of another busy day.