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Debt worries force tough choices

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Many households are so weighed down with debt, they don’t believe they will ever pay it off.

At the same time, it is affecting their chances of starting a family, according to a new report by comparison site MoneySuperMarket.

The debt study, which surveyed 1,000 indebted households, found that 57% believe their debt will take three or more years to pay down.

While mortgages and student loans hit the headlines, the real problem is personal loans, arrears on household bills and credit cards.

12% of debtors don’t believe they will get on top of their debts and a further 7% say they worry they won’t be able to have children as a result.

The study also looked at the impact on mental health. Over half (55%) of people in household arrears worry on a daily basis about how they will make ends meet. At the same time, many (52%) believe they have been poorly treated by those responsible for collecting the debt. Local authorities and payday lenders receive fewer complaints.

Although there is help out there from groups such as Citizen’s Advice and the National Debtline (0808 808 4000) or charities such as StepChange (0800 138 1111), 41% of people have never sought help for their debts.

Sally Francis-Miles, spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Some debts are entered into as part of a financial plan, such as a mortgage, but when an emergency situation leaves them unable to pay, many feel left without a choice and turn to high-cost options such as payday loans or expensive credit cards.”

“Money worries can cause extreme stress, and leave people feeling alone and desperate but there are many advice services available to help, including debt-help charities and the Money Advice Service. Seeking help and support can make all the difference if you or someone close to you is struggling with their financial situation – there’s always a way out of a debt spiral.”

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