Up to 10% of the population, totalling several million people may be reluctant to admit that they are experiencing debt problems, according to suggestions being made by the Money Advice Service (MAS).
Therefore, as a result, MAS is calling on friends, as well as family members to help do more in order to help spot the tell-tale signs of money issues which naturally needs to be sorted out.
Such signs can include secretive behaviour, or a tendency always to be buying the latest “must-have” item. There may also be a display of physical and emotional symptoms to indicate that they are in trouble.
Some signs to watch out for would be:
- People have been in debt in the past
- They may recently have had a big life event, such as a new baby, being made redundant, or a possibly a divorce
- They could be living beyond their means, and/or always buying new gadgets or clothes
- They might be spending less time socialising with their friends
- They may be starting to hide issues and/or avoid talking about finances
- They may have reduced or increased the amount which they are spending
- They may seem tired, and/or having trouble sleeping
- They have either put on weight or lost it
Backed by the government, MAS says that getting debt advice can make a big difference to people’s lives.
One recent study suggests that within 3 months of receiving advice after realising that they need to sort out their debts, 65% of participants were either repaying their debts or had cleared them in full.
“Free debt advice is available now and will help support you in getting your finances back on track before your money worries become a bigger issue,” said Sheila Wheeler, director of debt advice at the MAS.
Those with access to the internet can use this debt test to help them work out how to resolve their problems.
While personal debt has been falling over the last few years, borrowing has been increasing.
Incomes are also being squeezed. Since April 2017 inflation has been higher than the growth in wages.
In May 2017 the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) showed annual growth of 2.9%, while wages are currently increasing by 2.1% a year.