A recent survey by Comres for the BBC has reported that up to 69% of people with debt had sought no help with its management.
This is an alarming figure that suggests there is still a large element of stigma surrounding being in debt and seeking assistance with its resolution; as well as a certain element of denial about how bad things really are.
Seeking debt advice in the earliest stages is essential to prevent the situation getting out of hand or beyond the control of the individual.
Early warning signs of debt often include:
- Paying for essential items such as food, bills or housing costs with credit
- Only being able to make the minimum payment on credit cards and/or credit cards being at their limit
- Missing payments so that others can be made
- Regularly spending more than is earned
- Calls from creditors about overdue bills
- Being turned down for credit
- An unexpected cost such as a car repair would be difficult to make or would mean that another bill would be left unpaid
Recent figures released by the Money Advice Trust have also shown an alarming increase in the cost of living crisis despite evidence in other areas that suggest a recovery is gaining ground.
The Money Advice Trust reported that it helped 150,000 people with household bill debt such as energy, water and council tax last year up 140% from 2007.
Of those people that are actually seeking out debt advice and assistance it seems more traditional forms of credit such as loans and overdrafts have given way to basic living costs instead.
The slow but sustained increase in the cost of living and lack of wage rises across the board has meant that the majority of individuals are seeing an erosion of their spending power. Surplus income has become a thing of the past for many. The cost of merely providing shelter, food and warmth for themselves and their family now accounts for the majority of their wage, if not all of it.
In cases where debts have been accrued for energy, water and council tax we see a greater issue, an issue that is more difficult to resolve. When the very cost of living is causing families to fall into debt it creates a vulnerable class of people unable to remove themselves from the situation or resolve it and possibly unwilling or unaware of how to seek advice.
Increases in the minimum wage and greater personal tax allowances have been implemented to try and assist low paid workers; as well as reviews of the energy market in an attempt to bring down living costs but there is much more that can be done.
The stigma of debt needs to be addressed; no one should feel they need to bury their heads in the sand. Friendly, impartial and non-judgemental advice and solutions are available from Focus Insolvency Group for all types of debt problems for both individuals and businesses.
It’s never too late to seek help but the sooner debt is tackled, the easier it will be to resolve. Get in touch today.