Most debt solutions have typical durations that can work as an estimate of how long they will last. 

A debt management plan (DMP) is an informal debt solution and unlike formal debt solutions, its duration can vary by a lot. Due to this, there’s often a lot of confusion among debtors about how long they’re DMP might last. 

In this post, I’ll be discussing DMP duration(s) and helping you understand how you can determine how long your DMP is going to last. 

What is the Typical Duration of a Debt Management Plan?

 Most formal debt solutions have a set duration that they usually last for. 

For example, debt relief orders (DROs) last twelve months, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) typically last five years and bankruptcy usually lasts about three years.

Unlike these formal debt solutions, there’s no typical duration that is given to debt management plans. 

This is mainly because of the fact that you have to usually repay your debt in full. Depending on how much debt you’re in and what your monthly payments are like, your debt management plan’s duration can vary by a drastic amount. 

Not only that but the duration of your debt management plan can depend on a number of other factors such as whether your creditors agree to freeze interest and charges or not. 

To ask your creditors to freeze interest on your debt, use our free letter template.

Let us look at these three factors individually and determine how they can impact the length of your debt management plan. 

The Amount of Total Debt You Have 

Of course, the total amount of unsecured debts that you have included within your debt management plan is going to play an important role in determining its length. 

This is because in most formal debt relief solutions such as debt relief orders and individual voluntary arrangements, some or all of your debts are written off. 

When it comes to debt management plans, you are usually required to repay the entirety of your debt off. Due to this, your debt can largely affect how long your debt management plan is. 

In IVAs, for example, it doesn’t usually matter how much debt you have. You make payments according to how much you can afford for the first five years and you have complied completely with the IVA’s terms, the rest of your debt is written off. This isn’t the case with debt management plans. 

The Monthly Repayments You Make 

Of course, the amount of money you pay is going to largely affect how soon the entirety of your debts get paid off. 

Please note that you will never be required to pay more in your debt repayments than what you can afford. 

Hence, depending on what you can afford, the length of your debt management plan might be extremely long or quite short (or somewhere in between). 

If you can afford to pay a relatively large amount of money in a single monthly payment, then you’ll find that your debt management plan will come to an end much quicker. 

If you can only afford to pay a relatively smaller amount of money, then you’re going to find that your debt management plan might not be ending any time soon. 

It’s also important to note that priority and/or secured debts cannot be included within DMPs. This means that you’re going to have to handle them separately from your DMP

In your DMP’s payment offer, the payments made to these priority debts will be termed as essential expenses. 

Thus, if you have a combination of secured and unsecured debts with the majority of them being the former, then you’re going to have to set aside money for that first. 

Due to this, you’ll find that you may have a lot less money to pay towards your DMP

Hence, if you have a lot of priority debts and fewer unsecured debts, your DMP might last a longer time than if you had only unsecured debts and no unsecured/priority debts. 

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Whether Interest and Charges Get Frozen or Not 

When you enter into a DMP, your creditors might freeze interest and charges. 

It’s important to note that while most creditors do freeze interest and charges, they are not obligated to do so. 

As you can probably tell, your DMP will finish much earlier if your creditors choose to freeze your interest and charges. 

On the other hand, if your creditors don’t freeze your interest and charges, then your debt will keep increasing and you’ll have to stay on top of your debt payments to ensure you don’t get stuck in persistent debt. 

Of course, having interest charges on your debt(s) are going to increase the length of your DMP by a significant amount. 

You may find that some creditors might agree to freeze charges whereas some may not. 

This can definitely complicate matters. I highly suggest that you contact your DMP provider for more debt advice in such a case to get a more accurate estimate of when your debt management plan will end. Your DMP provider might be a single individual or a debt management company.

You can also seek debt advice from independent charities such as Stepchange or Payplan

How do I Estimate My DMP’s Duration? 

In order to determine your DMP’s duration, first determine your 

  • Surplus income. Your surplus income is the money you have left after you’ve attended to living costs, essential expenses and priority debts. 
  • Total amount of unsecured debt. 

Calculation

Once both these values are calculated, divide the total amount of unsecured debt by your surplus income. 

The number you get will be approximately how many months it will take you to completely repay your debts (assuming that you don’t miss any monthly payments and that your creditors have agreed to freeze interest). 

Conclusion 

It can definitely be confusing to figure out when exactly your DMP is going to end. 

However, by taking some factors into account and doing some calculations, you can definitely get a fair estimate of when you’ll be making your last monthly payment.

I hope this article helped you. For more debt advice, you can contact me.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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