Money Matters By Chris Morgan

How financial matters impact on a person’s overall well-being?

Over the last two decades whilst working with people living with HIV, I’ve met literally hundreds of people whose general wellbeing has been affected in some way by their financial circumstances. Whether it be related to credit, debt management or housing issues, they all can have a serious impact on a person’s life and wellbeing.

In my previous Money Matters column (Spring 2018) I mentioned the UN’s 90-90-90 targets that were set in 2014 and that there are many people calling for a 4th 90 target to help people achieve a good quality of life. It is my belief that the burden of debt and a person’s ability to secure housing can have a major serious impact on a person’s quality of life.

Recently, The National Aids Trust published a report into HIV & Finance, in which 25% of the respondents confirmed they had been refused a financial product in the last 5 years due to their HIV status. The products within this research included Mortgages and Life Assurance, which of course are directly linked to the housing needs of people living with HIV.

The report also suggested that 60% of respondents had avoided applying for financial products because of their HIV status due to fears of high cost, refusal and stigma. Many of you reading this column will know I’ve been working for over two decades to help the HIV community overcome these barriers and see this as an indication there is still a great deal of work to be done.

Recently, I met a client who had been declined for Life Assurance due to the advice he received from a “Mainstream” broker who had incorrectly disclosed his medical history. The applicant had been advised to disclose that Kaposi Sarcoma Lesions that were diagnosed before HAART treatment were NOT HIV related at all.

This in fact was the incorrect thing to do and if this situation had been handled or disclosed correctly by a specialist broker with a thorough knowledge of HIV issues, the client would in fact have been accepted for life assurance. This situation caused considerable stress and anxiety for the client during his house purchase process.

Another key area which can impact of a person’s well-being, directly impacts on a person’s well-being is their ability to secure their housing needs, through raising mortgage finance. This issues “Hot Mortgage Topics” is focused on Credit History, Debt Management and Credit Reports.

In my experience these are some of the leading financial issues that can affect a person’s ability to raise mortgage finance.  My hope is that you will find my ongoing Money Matters Column a valuable resource that encourages many people living with HIV to look after their financial future.

Hot Mortgage Topics – Credit Reports and Credit History

One of the most relevant financial issues that impact a person’s ability to raise mortgage finance is their credit history and ability to manage their credit file. There have been many times over the last two decades that I’ve met people where their diagnosis has led them into financial difficulties. This has then in turn reflected poorly on their credit file, affecting their ability to raise mortgage finance

In majority of cases their health affected their ability to work or forced them to take a break in their career, so their ability to repay credit facilities, may have been affected by short and medium-term changes in their income. Of course mortgages are agreed on a person’s ability to repay the debt, so any past indications of missed payments or default on credit facilities are viewed poorly by lenders.

Many people living with HIV have therefore delayed their decisions around buying property and housing for these reasons and through the fear of being turned down for a mortgage. However, there have been many times Unusual Mortgages have been able to help, especially as these issues become more historic. Here’s some advice for those who needs some help reading their credit file and want to start planning their financial future.

Credit Score

The front page of most credit files carry an overall credit score or rating out of 999, with a comment as to whether that rating is “Very Poor” through to “Very Good”.  The important thing to know is that this Credit Score was mainly invented for consumer purposes and in fact credit card, personal loan and mortgage lenders pay very little attention to this when agreeing finance facilities like mortgages.

Over Limit

Every credit report documents, a person’s credit facilities and records the type of credit, the overall limit of the credit and the current balance. If a credit facility is over its agreed limit then it will show on the report and this is something that potential lenders will pay a lot of attention to and especially mortgage lenders.

Default & Late Payment

Each credit facility has a running record of repayments due and whether the account holder made those payments, so if payment’s are missed then it’s very visible. If an account holder misses several payments, then the status is likely to show as a default on the credit record. Mortgage lenders are highly unlikely to lend if a default is very recent or current.

Pay Day Loans

Pay day loans also appear on a person’s credit report and once again the type of credit, the overall limit of the credit and current balance are likely to be shown. Mortgage lenders generally take a poor view of Pay Day Loans as they are seen as an indicator of poor cash flow and as previously mentioned mortgages are agreed on affordability.

Rebuild Credit

If your credit problems are quite historic then there are several credit card companies that may be willing to lend to you. This may be an opportunity for you to rebuild your credit status and show that you can manage debt once again. This would be seen as a good thing from a mortgage lenders point of view, especially if recent repayments are all up to date.

Specialist Advice

If your credit problems are historic then it may be possible to raise a mortgage, with the right level of deposit and with specialist are financial advice. High Street lenders are highly unlikely to offer a mortgage to someone with poor credit history, but there specialist mortgage lenders that offer finance to people where they can see a good recent credit history and where problems are now deemed to be historic.

Free Credit report

If you simply do not know your credit status then it’s advisable to get a free credit report from either or  These are the main two credit reference agencies that are used by mortgage lenders, so it’s best to use these if you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage. If you have access to all the information and facts you will stand a much better chance of getting a mortgage.

Chris Morgan has been advising people living with HIV for almost two decades on financial matters. He is a consultant to the Association of British Insurers, HIV Working Group (2005 to 2018). He co-wrote the Life Insurance Industry Guidance on HIV and also the HIV and Life Insurance Consumer Guide that are both currently in use today. He can be contacted by emailing him at or via the website