„Debt? What should I do?“ Going to debt counseling
On the verge of insolvency. What to do? Across Borders With Information – ABOWI asks Johann Tillich, board member of the Verein für Existenzgründung e. V. in Karlsfeld / Munich, as an expert on debt counseling.
In Germany, more people are sinking into their debts. In 2020, almost 17 percent of Germans believed to be struggling with payment difficulties. More than the years before. But what to do when the bailiff is at the door and banks and creditors are putting pressure on. Many people panic and fear they will never be able to lead a normal life again. Debtor counseling centers can help those affected, and those in debt realize that a new start is possible. Long-standing experience of established debt counseling centers indicates that consumers and companies find it very difficult to go to a counselor for reasons such as pride or shame. But why the course is to debt advisors particularly as precaution the correct way, asks and explains we with debt advisor Johann Tillich from Munich.
In the discussion the experienced debt advisor Mr. Johann Tillich from its practice of many years explains, how it points to concerning step by step possibilities for the way back into the economic life. Johann Tillich, executive committee of the association for business startup in Karlsfeld helps humans and enterprises again the rudder into the hand to take and not in the debts drown. In addition, Mr. Tillich is a state-certified investment and asset consultant, lay judge in several courts, trustee for insolvency proceedings and author for specialized books.
We are looking for answers: What are the ways out of debt? What are the differences between bankruptcies? When is it time to turn to a counseling center like Mr. Tillich’s?
Josefine Schulte: Hello Mr. Johann Tillich, please introduce yourself and your work briefly.
Johann Tillich: Hello, my name is Johann Tillich and I am a member of the board of directors of the Verein für Existenzsicherung e.V. (VfE) from Karlsfeld near Munich. We have also been represented in Berlin for some time. We help humans by a debtor consultation for over 30 years, led in the meantime over 4.000 comparison negotiations, in the topic tax savings models and since 1999 we worry mainly about consumers and rule insolvencies for consumers and for companies.
Josefine Schulte: Why do people contact you?
Johann Tillich: On the one hand, we have consumers who, especially in today’s pandemic, many have become unemployed or are on short-time work and are now unable to pay their installments due to the lower income. So, the banks and the creditors are putting pressure on people. There are two ways.
- bury your head in the sand or
- to turn to a professional debt counseling, which can help them.
Today there is now the possibility to negotiate settlements, even with the banks or even with the creditors, if there is only a short passage or in the worst case to prepare and carry out the insolvency. In the case of companies, it is the same way that companies get problems, slide into debts because of the pandemic, because they have no more income.
In the case of limited liability companies, it is very important not to miss the deadline for filing for insolvency, otherwise you will be liable to prosecution. In the case of individual companies, this deadline does not exist and these companies are not liable to prosecution. But it is important to accompany the insolvency. In addition, most problems occur after filing for insolvency or as soon as the insolvency administrator gets in touch. Here, too, we support people throughout the entire insolvency process.
Josefine Schulte: When does it become necessary to seek advice?
Johann Tillich: Early on, when you notice that something is stuck somewhere. At that moment, you should go to a debt counseling center. Then we still have the possibilities to help. If we are only consulted when the bailiff is at the door and the Schufa has been shot up, it becomes more difficult. Comparable with medicine. It is best to visit your doctor for preventive care and not for aftercare.
Many damages can be avoided by an early consultation. So we always advise, don’t be shy about debt counseling. Things can only get better.
Josefine Schulte: Your specialties are consumer and regular insolvency. What is behind these two terms?
Johann Tillich: Consumer insolvency has the advantage that our customer can have all creditors written down by us. We take over the entire procedure and file the insolvency petition with the court. The procedure, since we have no waiting periods, takes about six to twelve weeks. After that, the customer is insolvent and has nothing to do with the creditors from that point on. From this point on, the insolvency administrator takes care of all further procedures and after three years the debtor is debt-free.
In the case of companies, things are a little different. No creditors are written to, but the creditors are simply included in a table. And the insolvency application is submitted to the court, which can sometimes take place in two to three weeks. Of course, it is important to note that there are also charitable debt counseling agencies that are not allowed to process companies. Companies are dependent on either going to a lawyer or to a professional debt counseling center, which can usually also work cheaply.
Josefine Schulte: What kind of consulting difference is there between a non-profit organization like IFC, charitable offices or going to a lawyer?
Johann Tillich: Charitable agencies do not work for free, as is often claimed. These bodies are financed by the state and every taxpayer finances them. We do not receive money from the state, but we have to charge the fees, which are based on the advisory assistance of the courts, i.e. we start at 500 euros with few creditors. The highest number of creditors with us was 186. With such a high number, you have to expect up to 1500 euros. In contrast to legal advice, which is based on the fee schedule of lawyers and can then also cost between 8000 to 10000 euros. Therefore always to ask before about the costs.
There one fights on the side of the people also for our mandators.
Josefine Schulte: What is your classic case in debt counseling?
Johann Tillich: The classic case is the consumer who comes to us. There are many consumers who buy via loans, purchase without interest, interest-free at home improvement stores or furniture stores, etc. Many small installments eventually add up to one big rat and people lose track. Then it makes sense to see if you can make a big rat out of these many small installments to achieve debt to a bank. Our first goal is always to avoid insolvency. We fight on the side of our clients and most of the time we succeed. I always say the worst case for a client is always insolvency. After the three years of insolvency, it is also in the Schufa for three more years. The customer is blocked for six years. We always try to avoid that.
Josefine Schulte: From your experience, is there a social group that is particularly affected?
Johann Tillich: It starts with young people but mainly it goes 28 to 30 years and of course it goes up to 60 and 70. Maybe a loan to finance a house is running and the pension is not enough for a washing machine repair. Then it can happen that also everyone comes into the emergency. Anyone in Germany can be affected.
Josefine Schulte: How do you manage to deal with the emotional burden?
Johann Tillich: It is difficult. Of course, it also affects me personally because we are so invested in our customers and also often fight very hard for our customers. After 35 years, I personally have managed to separate my professional and private life.
Johann Tillich thank you very much for the meaningful answers and for taking the time for this interview.
Josefine Antonia Schulte
Student & Blogger ABOWI
Across Borders With Information – ABOWI, an interview series by Josefine Antonia Schulte, law student from Berlin in Germany. Questions and Answers: A virtual journey around the world to uncover differences and prejudices. Finding answers to questions around the world, that’s our goal. Josefine Antonia Schulte asks her way from Azerbaijan to Cyprus.
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