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Fergus will be back on the John Beattie Show on BBC Radio Scotland on Wednesday just after the 1pm news with some great tips to help organise your money and understand your consumer rights. This week he'll be looking at the best way to spring clean your finances at the beginning of a new tax year. Catch up on previous shows here

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He who shouts loudest doesn’t need to be paid first.

Multiple debt is on the rise again and it causes all sorts of problems.  It’s not easy to prioritise when lots of people are shouting for their money back. It often seems simplest and best to pay the person who is shouting the loudest. The company that continually sends you threatening letters must be the most important one to pay first surely?

The truth is that this is rarely a great idea, since the person who shouts loudest often only shouts because they have no other way to make you pay up.

What’s the worst your credit card company can do to you if you don’t make minimum payments every month?  They can put a black mark against your credit rating, and they can threaten you with court action. But if you don’t have any money what’s the point of taking you to court?

What happens if you get into arrears with your electricity bill though? Your supply can be cut off. Likewise if you don’t pay your mortgage for long enough you can have your house repossessed. Both actions are a lot worse than a poor credit rating or threats of court action. But the electricity company or your mortgage provider might not make as much noise about the fact that you are in arrears as your credit card company will.

So don’t always pay the person who shouts loudest first. Have a look at the consequences of not paying your outstanding creditors before deciding in which order you should pay them back.

And please remember that this is not a get out of jail free card. I’m not suggesting for a minute that you shouldn’t pay your debts. Just that if you can’t do it all at once then any repayment plan needs to be sensible and take account of what would happen if you default. As always it makes sense to contact your creditors as soon as you think there may be a problem with payment. The longer you put these things off the harder it can be for your creditors to come up with a sensible solution.


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It looks as if the Financial conduct Authority might be about to take action to help so-called 'mortgage prisoners', borrowers who have loans with companies that are no longer trading.
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