“Being in debt can be so overwhelming. It’s a nightmare that you can’t wake up from. When I realised that I could no longer take out a loan each month to service my existing debt, I made the responsible decision to call DebtBusters. The empathy, the advice and the will to help, was what convinced me that I made the right choice to solve my debt problems. I can now sleep peacefully at night knowing that I can afford to pay off my children’s education and put food on the table. Debt Counselling has changed my life.” – Margaret Jefferson, DebtBusters Client
28 November 2012
A recent study in the United Kingdom shows that 1 in 3 consumers hide their financial problems from their family. The UK’s “hidden” debt amounts to an estimated £55bn.
Luke Hirst, MD of Debt experts DebtBusters, says ‘This statistic looks just about right for the South African consumer in Debt. It is a common problem that we see all too often. A consumer is ashamed of their over indebtedness and instead of taking the steps to correct the problem, they bury themselves in sleepless nights, anxiety and alcohol abuse.’
The UK report shows that one in five consumers are hiding their debt from their partner, while a tremendous 78% of people who have hidden debt have never confessed to the true extent of their financial dilemma. Of the 22% who did, the majority (60%) were caught out rather than chose to come clean.
Hirst continues, ‘There is such a negative stigma around debt that consumers try to pretend it is not there. This is not a solution and only exacerbates the problem. Consumers need to be aware that there are solutions out there which are specific to each individuals needs.’
‘With 161 749 applications for Debt counselling in South Africa to date, and this number climbing month on month, more attention needs to be given to Debt Review as an option. The stigma surrounding asking for help and approaching a registered Debt Counsellor needs to be removed.’
The research report went on further to say that of those who were found out, a quarter (25%) reported that they still tried to deny everything, despite the same proportion (26%) stating that hiding the debt only made their money problems worse. A breakdown of spending habits showed that expenditure on clothing was the item women were most likely to lie about while for men it was alcohol.
The dishonesty led to anxiety, with 43% complaining of loss of sleep, 21% of mood swings and 12% admitting that they drank more alcohol; 12% said they could no longer do their job properly.