Many people are silently struggling with debts, survey finds

(PA)

 

MORE than half of people with debts feel they are just “juggling” around the amounts they owe, a survey has found.

Some 57% of people in the red said they were experiencing problems and felt they were juggling debts, Nationwide Building Society 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.

Nationwide commissioned the research to encourage people in persistent or problematic debt to ask for help from their building society or bank as early as possible, rather than struggle alone.

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.”

Bank of England figures released this week showed a sharp slowdown in the annual growth in personal loans, overdraft and credit card lending in March.

Economists said that while the freezing weather may have played a part in the slowdown, there have also been signs that consumers have recently become more cautious about borrowing cash – while lenders have become more cautious about loaning money out.

More than 2,000 people from across the UK were surveyed for Nationwide.

Here are Nationwide Building Society’s tips for people with debts:

– Do not ignore debt – make a list of all debts and do not forget your overdraft and cards you do not use

– Create a budget – cut back on non-essential spending and use savings to pay off expensive debts

– Shop around for cheaper deals and check if there are ways to increase your income

– Talk with your creditors or a debt advice service, many of which are free, to see how they can help

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