Independent financial advice firm Seeing Red has drawn up a nine-point watch list for people who are worried that they may be beginning to struggle with their debts.
“Debt is as much a psychological problem as a financial one,” said Seeing Red’s Sue Cox.
“We have analysed our case files, and certain types of behaviour stand out as being typical of those people who may be heading for serious money troubles.”
Seeing Red said that ever-growing numbers are struggling to meet payments as personal debt hits an all-time high of £1.1 trillion and personal insolvencies break records.
The UK now has the highest proportion of debt to income of any country in the world apart from China, it added.
It warned people who may be just coping to watch for the following signs of danger:
∑ Do you avoid opening “official” looking letters, or anything which might look like a bill?
∑ Are you losing sleep as a result of mounting debt?
∑ Do you always only repay the minimum amount on your credit card every month?
∑ Have you have missed one or more mortgage, loan, or card repayment?
∑ Is your financial situation adversely affecting your relationship with family and friends?
∑ Do you keep signing up for credit cards at zero per cent interest for six months, just to keep going?
∑ Do you tell yourself lies about how much you owe?
∑ Do you hide bank, loan, or credit card statements, from family members?
∑ Do you avoid totalling up exactly how much you owe?
Much of our debt is tied up in mortgages and as long as employment remains high and the best rate of borrowing low, debt seems to be manageable for most, said Ms Cox.
“The good news is that there is a lot of help available, depending on the size and type of debt problem you are experiencing.
“If you’re having money problems, the worst thing you can do is to just ignore the situation. We urge people to stop worrying about their debt, and start dealing with it.”
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