Weybridge, United Kingdom (PressExposure) August 16, 2009 -- Almost half of those in serious debt (43%) were almost too scared to take action because of the social stigma attached to it, according to new research from Talk About Debt, the free debt solutions website. The perceived reaction of loved ones is one of the greatest fears revealed by those in debt, causing them to take longer to deal with it and often adding to their debt burden. One in seven people in serious debt (15%) have still not talked to anyone about it.
With the economic crisis causing more and more people to fall into debt, these perceived social stigmas are causing a number of repercussions. The findings indicate that a quarter of people (23%) take over a year to deal with their financial troubles. Meanwhile, the personal and emotional side-effects result in 59% always feeling worried and 40% believing their debt problem has stopped them being able to move on with their life.
â¢ A quarter or people in serious debt took several months to admit to friends and family â¢ And 15% still havenât talked to anyone about it â¢ 25% of people in serious debt most frightened about their familyâs reactions â¢ Nearly a quarter of people in debt take over a year to seek help
Unsurprisingly the vast majority (91%) are paying off credit card debt, which can easily spiral out of control as credit limits are extended. Although it often takes only a short time to build up this debt, resolving it can again be a lengthy process. Eighty eight per cent of people in debt believe the impact on their credit rating is the biggest problem they face at the moment. And almost two thirds (63%) cite long-term credit issues as being the most frightening aspect of serious debt.
Jessica Bown, consumer journalist, talkaboutdebt.co.uk comments: âThe main concern is that whilst the fear factor is preventing people from talking about debt and seeking help, their debts continue to mount. By seeking advice early, they can stop the problem from escalating, and prevent the stress that goes hand in hand with serious debt taking over their lives. People get stuck in a vicious circle of fear and inaction, which in reality of course, only makes the problem bigger. Help is readily available, but as a nation we need to get over the idea that debt should be locked away and not talked about.â
Andrew Redmond, Insolvency Expert: "It's enormously hard to face up to a debt problem, and sometimes even harder to share that problem with loved-ones. Often people delay dealing with the problem - hoping for a financial windfall which sadly doesn't come. Sharing a debt problem with a trained advisor can be the first step in solving that problem and for many it is the first time they have shared their financial concerns with anyone else.
"Unfortunately mounting interest and administration charges - sometimes added to the amount you owe by lenders on a daily basis, simply grow and grow during the time it takes for many people to admit their debt problem. That's why it is important for anyone who feels their debt is spiraling out of control to seek help and advice as quickly as possible."
According to talkaboutdebt.co.ukâs research the average debt is Â£25,115, although 9% of people have debts of over Â£60,000. As the recession deepens and circumstances change, many people find themselves unable to cope with their debts. Nearly a quarter of people (24%) do not know how long it will take them to pay them off.
Women are even more affected by the pressure of serious debt than men, with 75% saying they are not sleeping because of debt-stress (compared to 61% of men). Despite these high levels of stress, an astonishing 15% of respondents still have not talked to anyone about their debt problems.
Jessica Bown, consumer journalist, talkaboutdebt.co.uk comments: âOur research shows that thereâs a real feeling of shame surrounding debt, and that in itself can have a really detrimental effect, with people feeling trapped in their situation and unable to talk to anyone. This stigmatism of debt also breeds mistrust â so people not only want to keep the problem from friends and family, but also find it hard to open up to or to trust a professional debt adviser for fear of being sucked in further. Itâs important that people are aware they can get free advice, and that it really is possible to come out the other side of serious debt.â
To ensure that its customers get the right advice, talkaboutdebt.co.uk provides free access to carefully screened, reviewed, debt advisors who provide unbiased debt advice. This helps those in serious debt to avoid advisors who charge excessive fees or feel it is reasonable to extend the period individuals are in debt beyond what is reasonable and logical.
When making a debt management decision, those in serious debt must consider that an IVA or bankruptcy is a formal solution that is not suitable for everyone. It can affect potential employment prospects in certain professions as well as individual credit ratings.