Getting Advice

There are lots of causes of financial difficulty, particularly in a cost of living crisis, so it is important to know when to seek help.

Do You Need Money or Debt Advice?

There is no shame in getting into debt or having to ask for help.  We advise anyone struggling with their finances to seek advice early. 

There are a number of debt options we can help with. Our factsheets give an overview of how each option works. To find out more about these options visit our Money Talks section.

If you can answer ‘YES’ to any of the below we recommend seeking immediate money and debt advice:

  • Do you have more money (or the same amount of money) going out each month than you have coming in?
  • Are you behind with important bills or payments and struggling to catch up (e.g. rent, mortgage, heating)?
  • Are you having to choose between essential expenses such as heating or eating?
  • Are you borrowing money to fund everyday living expenses?
  • Is a high proportion of your income going to repay debts?
  • Are you struggling to meet minimum re-payments (e.g. of credit cards or loans)?
  • Are you taking out credit to pay credit or borrowing from one place to pay off debt somewhere else?
  • Are you often facing financial charges or penalties?
  • Do you ignore letters or phone calls from people you owe money to (creditors)?        
  • Do you worry about how you will make repayments?
  • Do you feel you financial situation has become unmanageable or out of control?
  • Are you unable to set aside money for a financial emergency?
  • Have you had or are you facing any court action relating to debt?
  • Are money worries impacting on your family and your health?        
  • Are you at risk of eviction or loosing your home?


How Can A Money & Debt Adviser Help?

A Money & Debt Adviser can help by

  • Completing a financial statement that looks at your budget based on income and spending.
  • Boost income by identifying entitlements (e.g. benefits, grants, schemes).
  • Discussing options to reduce spending - to help work out a surplus income.
  • Helping to identify priority debts and giving advice on any urgent situations.
  • Giving advice on dealing with all types of debt (priority & non priority).
  • Highlighting solutions and consequences of each potential debt solution/re-payment option.
  • Contacting and negotiating with creditors (those you owe money to) on your behalf.
  • Agreeing a plan of action relevant to your situation (e.g. Debt Management Plan, token payments, insolvency options, write-offs).
  • Directing you to relevant self-help materials and resources.
  • Signposting to local help and supports relevant to your situation.

An Adviser can work with you on an ongoing basis until your case is resolved. To find a free, confidential, independent quality assured debt advice service please contact Advice NI helpline 0800 915 4604 or find your local advice centre.

Preparing for Money & Debt Advice

In order for the Adviser to get a full picture of your situation and advise you on appropriate options, it is helpful to gather relevant information to bring to your first appointment (please note this information will be treated with confidentiality).

Information to gather includes:

  • Details of all income (wage slips, benefit letters, pensions etc.) .
  • Details of household spending (rent, rates, childcare, travel costs, phone bills etc.).
  • Bank statements (most recent copies).
  • Details of all those you owe money to and how much (latest statements and letters), regardless of whether there are arrears.
  • Copies of original agreements (e.g. loan/credit agreements).
  • Any recent letters (e.g. debt collection agency, landlord etc.) .
  • Any court letters or papers.

Self-Help Options

An Adviser can also help and support you to take debt management forward yourself, for example, providing access to self-help tools and resources (e.g. budget planner, sample letters to creditors and so on). When taking action yourself make sure you consider the tips below.

  • Establish that you own and owe the debt.
  • Deal with priority debts and emergency situations first.
  • Contact creditors as early as possible to explain why you are in debt and negotiate a manageable repayment plan.
  • Don’t ignore creditors letter or phone calls.
  • Keep copies of all agreements and letters.
  • Take a note of any phone calls, include the person’s name and what was agreed.
  • Have a completed budget to hand when negotiating with creditors.
  • Always seek free, independent, advice if you need help


Priority Debts are those where the consequences of non-payment are more severe e.g. loss of home (eviction/ repossession), jail, bankruptcy, disconnection of an essential utility (e.g. electricity, gas), or fines. This includes debts such as rent, mortgage, secured loans, court fines, rates, TV licence, Child Maintenance, and tax.

Self-Help Resources

There are a range of self-help tools and resources to help you to manage debt. These include the following:



Personal Debt Help Guides

Personal Debt Tools & Resources

Business Debt Factsheets & Resources

Where to Get FREE Help & Advice

Advice NI and its members provide FREE independent, confidential and impartial debt advice services across Northern Ireland.

You can access the service by appointment at one of the local advice agencies listed below, by calling any of the numbers below, by contacting Advice NI through the referral link, and/or by sending an email to