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We need to talk about debt…and half of us don’t

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24/10/2022
Much of the UK is suffering in silence over debt as the cost-of-living crisis shows no sign of abating.

Almost half (47%) of the UK population will not talk about debt with friends or family, while 41% worry whether they’ll be able to pay bills on time, according to a survey from comparison site Go.Compare.

However, the survey also found there was a generational gap around talking about debt. More than half (52%) of those aged 55 and over – the highest response – remained silent but the figure fell to just 43% and 41% of 18-34 and 35-54-year-olds respectively.

Go.Compare noted that “this could signify that there is becoming less of a stigma around debt with younger generations.”

Yet, given the expanding cost-of-living crisis, financial transparency with loved ones is now more vital than ever as hiding debt can add undue stress and burden on a family unit.

Sue Anderson, head of media at StepChange debt charity, said: “Debt can be difficult to talk about, especially with the people closest to you…but talking to someone you trust can really help to relieve the burden of going through financial problems on your own.

“Research for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this summer found that two-thirds of people who delayed getting help with their debt wish they had taken action sooner.

“If you are experiencing debt, help is available. A debt charity like StepChange will look at your income, spending and debts and provide you with free, confidential and impartial debt advice tailored to your circumstances.”

Debt consolidation on the rise

Meanwhile, the research also found that more than a third of adults are thinking about consolidating their debts – 17% of respondents had used debt consolidation loans in the past. A similar figure (16%) said that their views of debt consolidation had changed because of the cost-of-living crisis.

Matt Sanders, personal finance expert at Go.Compare, said: “If you are considering consolidating your debts, we recommend conducting a soft search using our loan comparison tool before you begin applying.

“This will show you the deals and rates you’ll likely qualify for, helping you to make an informed decision about what works for you.”

At the beginning of September, YourMoney.com, alongside Pepper Money, explored why you shouldn’t view debt consolidation as a last resort.

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