British Consumers Hiding £55 Billion Debt

We were interested to read the research recently published by the Post Office, which claims that UK consumers are hiding £55 billion worth of debt from friends and family.

According to the research, one fifth of the population are not telling their partner the truth about how much they owe, with one third keeping it from their family and one in eight turning to alcohol to cope with their debt secrets.

Findings showed that on average people in the UK have £9,731.51 worth of debt (excluding their mortgage), yet many only admit to half of what they owe – keeping their true financial situation from their partner and family members.

Earlier this year Debt Advice Foundation also conducted a survey, which found that 47% of people struggling with debt were hiding their money problems from loved-ones, with 21% facing the consequences of their partners’ debts.

As a debt advice charity, we often find that people who call our hotline have never spoken to anyone about their debt problems before, and in many cases this is because they had wanted to shield their family from the financial strain. Unfortunately this can lead to the debt spiraling out of control, with the individual focusing their attention on concealing the problem, rather than seeking help and support.

This can cause further stress and upset. In fact the Post Office’s research highlighted that 43% of those hiding debt from their partner or family have sleepless nights, 32% have higher anxiety, 21% experience mood swings, 15% are comfort eating and 12% turn to alcohol.

Our advice is to talk about money problems as soon as possible and don’t ‘bury your head in the sand’. We can advise what options are available, so you can take steps to resolve your financial problems and reduce the stress and anxiety that debt can cause to yourself and loved-ones.

It can be difficult to admit debt problems to those that are close to you, but you shouldn’t struggle in silence.