In a survey conducted at the end of last year more than 6 million Britons said they don’t believe they will ever be debt free. Research has also found the average person in the UK owes £8,000 – on top of any mortgage debt. On top of that around 25% of all UK households said they are struggling to make ends meet and 62% said they were often worried about their levels of personal debt.
Many people who see no end in sight feel there is no way out and the daily struggle and worry can lead to high levels of stress and even depression. This can be a debilitating vicious cycle that stops people asking for help, with more than half of people feeling there is negative stigma in asking for help, according to recent research. The ‘head in the sand’ syndrome, if you will.
A recent study found that 59 per cent of customers attribute this debt stigma to societal stereotyping and their own feelings of shame, embarrassment or inadequacy. A further 36 per cent blame the practices used by their service providers for making them feel that way and the remainder stated it was a combination of both factors.
According to a recent survey by the Nationwide Building Society, more than half of people with debts feel they are just “juggling” around the amounts they owe. 57% of people in the red said they were experiencing problems and felt they were juggling debts, the survey found.
The survey also found significant numbers of those in debt felt stressed (29%), anxious (28%), depressed (20%) and embarrassed (16%) when thinking about their debts, the research found.
Women were much more likely to say their debts made them feel stressed, at 36% versus 22% of men.
Most (58%) people with debt had never sought help with managing their money.
Among those who had sought help, just one in 14 (7%) approached their financial services provider, while over a fifth (21%) asked friends and family.
Jasper Davy, Nationwide’s head of collections and recoveries, said: “Our own experience tells us that it’s rare for someone to seek pre-emptive help.
“Because people can be embarrassed and anxious, they view seeking professional help as a last resort only to be used in a crisis, but there’s lots of support widely available and we’d encourage anyone who is struggling to ask for help as early as possible.”
Recent research from the charity Step Change, showed that around 3.3 million people in the UK are experiencing severe problem debt and around 9.3 million are showing signs of moderate financial difficulty.
Head of policy at Step Change, Peter Tutton said, “There is a blurred line between helpful credit, which is a normal part of life for many people, and problem debt.”
“For most of the clients we advise, credit only turned into problem debt as a result of a change in circumstances or a trigger event such as unemployment, illness, bereavement, relationship breakdown or another life event.”
‘We estimate that around 3.3 million people in the UK are experiencing severe problem debt, and that around 9.3 million are showing signs of moderate financial difficulty.”