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Brits hide £96bn of debt from friends and family

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Brits find it easier talking about politics and religion than debt, according to new research from government-backed Money Advice Service.

UK adults are hiding more than £96bn of debt from their friends and family, with the average amount of hidden debt standing at £4,164 per person.

The findings mark the launch of Talk Money Week – a public awareness campaign held this week, designed to improve people’s money management skills and financial well-being.

Nearly a third of people in debt in a relationship said their other half does not know about all the money they owe. And five per cent said their partner was completely in the dark about their debts.

Credit cards account for the largest quantity of hidden debt followed by personal loans from a bank or building society, overdrafts, money owed to friends and family and store cards.

Meanwhile, eight per cent said they had hidden payday loan debt.

Many of those with debt said they don’t want to burden others with their financial issues. For example, 51% said they would prefer not to talk to their friends and family about it because they don’t want them to worry. Almost a quarter said they don’t have the confidence to speak to their loved ones about their finances.

In fact, Brits find it easier talking politics and religion with their family than they do dealing with money problems.

Caroline Siarkiewicz from the Money Advice Service said: “Sometimes it can be easier to pretend everything is alright and avoid opening up about our debt problems to escape the tough conversations. Not because we want to cause harm, but because we want to shelter those closest to us from our problems or are concerned about being judged. However, this rarely solves the issue. In fact, it often makes things worse.

“Debt can be a particularly difficult topic to broach, especially if you’ve fallen into a spiral and don’t know how to get out of it. But sharing a problem is the first step to solving it; it’s always better to be open with your loved ones when it comes to money.”

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