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Brits hiding their secret £96Bn of debt from loved ones, family and friends

Friday, 16th November 2018

New research from the Money Advice Service (MAS) suggests UK adults are hiding £96Bn of debt from their loved ones, family or friends. When broken down to the 52,709 adults this equates to an average of £4,164 per adult.

The findings coincide with the Money Advice Service launching ‘Talk Money Week’ (12th – 18th November) aimed at getting people to talk about their finances, improve on their money management skills and financial wellbeing steered towards ending the taboo of being in debt.

The findings also revealed;

  • nearly a third (29%) say their partner does not know about their debts
  • a quarter (25%) don’t have confidence to talk to their partner about their debt problems
  • half (46%) of those aged 18-34 said they had trouble sleeping because of their hidden debt
  • 5% say their partner is completely in the dark about their debts
  • half (51%) prefer not to talk about their debts to family and friends citing the reason that they don’t want to worry them.

Does this £96BN of debt include mortgages?

No, its purely unsecured credit such as credit cards, payday loans, bank overdrafts and store cards.

Men v Women

Half the men surveyed said their close friends have no idea that they are in debt, this is 7% higher than for women. Interestingly men are less likely than women to open up about debt.

Breakdown of the hidden debts/creditors

Credit cards accounted for 48% of the debts followed by personal loans (17%), bank overdraft (16%), money owed to family and friends being (12%), store cards (11%) and payday loans (8%).

Caroline Siarkiewicz, Head of Debt Advice from the Money Advice Service commented:

“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.

“As it’s Talk Money Week, there is no better time to start opening up about your finances. Whether
with friends and family or a partner, use this week to talk about your money worries. And remember
that free and impartial debt advice is available near you.”

Full press release with notes to editors (takes you to the MAS website) here

Related listening - BBC Essex Drivetime 4.37pm 13/11/118

Mike Thomas, Head & Founder of DebtWizard was in the BBC Essex studio with Dave Monk just after 4.37pm on 13 November 2018, and talks to the presenter about two recent cases of hidden debt, both involved women, one with credit card debts of £30,000 and the other again on credit cards with debts of £55,000.

Mike then explains the tell tale signs someone leaves behind when they have debt problems plus how easy it is for your partner to find out about your debts, no matter how much you try not to let slip.

Mike then gives ideas on how to approach your partner with a debt problem, get your timing right and offers some words to use as well as where to get that much needed debt help.

How to listen

Available on the BBC I Player here https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06pthf6 (takes you to the BBC i Player), for Mike's slot move the timer to 37:07 - 47:42 (10 mins 35 secs).

Related reading

Mike's blogs -

Are you hiding your debt from your partner?

Friends, debt... and how to make sure your help is effective









For no nonsense advice just submit the short form and Mike or one of his team will get back to you.

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