What are Debt Advice Foundation’s helpline statistics?

Why we create a monthly statistical report on debt 

 
Every month, Debt Advice Foundation compiles a statistical resource based anonymously on those who have called us in the previous completed month. 
 

How we compile them

 
When someone calls us for help, it is not always for debt advice. In August, we got calls about a whole range of issues, from bailiff assistance to benefits queries. These types of cases are not included within our report. Our statistics only show completed cases, which means that the caller was struggling with debt, our advisers went through all of their circumstances and the most suitable debt solution was suggested to them. This may not have been a ‘formal’ solution, it may have been something as simple as budgeting advice. 
 

Why we compile them

 
Understanding why people call the charity's helpline allows us to develop and improve our service. Research like this also assists us to spot emerging trends that may, for example, influence the way borrowers use credit in the future and how we might react to those changes. 
 
Whilst our primary focus is on helping those that are in need of advice and support today, at the heart of the charity’s philosophy will always be the prevention and eventual eradication of unmanageable debt. That is why we have developed this monthly statistical resource and why we have created our education arm, working with schools to improve financial literacy in the next generation. 
 

What it has shown this month

 
So, who called us the most in August? Based on averages and at its most simplistic, we got the most calls from males, living in London, aged 25-34 and renting. Interestingly, when looking at the amount of money currently owed, the callers with the most debt were actually male homeowners, aged 45-54 and living in Yorkshire. 
 
Although the statistics will include a whole host of very different people in very different circumstances, by breaking it down this way, it does allow us to create a generalised picture of both who is amassing the greatest debt, but also who is worried about debt. Obviously both these people are concerned about their debt- that’s why they’ve called us. But it does raise the question on why some people may seek help sooner than others and how we can try to encourage them to engage with advice earlier.  
 

David Rodger, CEO of Debt Advice Foundation said;

 
“The report provides insights into the causes, nature and affordability of problem personal debt. For example 28% of our callers were in debt after losing their job, highlighting that falling into debt can happen to anybody at any time. The ideal solution would be to avoid high cost credit, but 39% of our callers had their debt on credit cards, which can be extremely costly if not managed properly. By examining the how and why, the debt sector can work with the government, creditors and each other to create better solutions.”
 

You can view our latest report and sign up to receive our monthly statistics here