Why was Debt Awareness Week Created?
Debt awareness week is designed to raise awareness about debt’s dangers and help people take control of their finances. This year, debt awareness week will take place from 20 – 26th March.
Debt Awareness Week is an important event aimed at raising awareness about the issues surrounding personal debt and encouraging people to take action to manage their finances better.
Statistics Around Debt
Upcoming data will give a clearer picture of the debt situation in the UK, but for now, we have compiled data from 2021. It is important to note that this situation has likely worsened due to the cost-of-living crisis.
- Household debt: According to the Bank of England, household debt in the UK reached £1.7 trillion in 2021. This includes mortgages, credit cards, and other types of loans.
- Credit card debt: The average credit card debt per household in the UK was £2,060 in 2021, according to the Money Charity.
- Student loan debt: According to the Student Loans Company, the total outstanding student loan debt in the UK reached £160.3 billion in 2021.
- Personal insolvencies: In 2021, there were 28,800 personal insolvencies in England and Wales, according to the Insolvency Service. This includes bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), and debt relief orders.
- Payday loans: According to the Financial Conduct Authority, 1.4 million payday loans were taken out in the UK in 2021, with an average loan size of £250.
Causes of Debt
There are many reasons for debt, and no circumstance is the same. We’ve listed some of the leading causes to give clarity to readers and alert them to the potential ways people fall into debt.
- Overspending: One of the most common causes of debt is overspending. This can happen quickly and is even more prevalent during the current cost-of-living crisis.
- Job loss or income reduction: Losing a job or experiencing a significant decrease in income can quickly lead to debt. If you need more money to cover your expenses, you may have to rely on credit cards or loans to make ends meet.
- Unexpected expenses: Unexpected expenses, such as car repairs, home repairs, or emergency travel, can lead to debt if you don’t have savings available. These are, of course, unpredictable, and so we recommend having an emergency fund always saved up.
- Poor financial management: Poor financial management, such as not keeping track of your expenses, not budgeting, and not paying bills on time, can also contribute to the debt.
How to manage debt
Managing debt can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. Still, many resources and services are available in the UK to help people navigate these difficulties. Here are some of the key resources and services people can use to manage their debt in the UK:
- National Debtline: National Debtline is a free, confidential debt advice service run by the Money Advice Trust. They offer expert advice and support over the phone, email, and web chat to people struggling with debt.
- StepChange: StepChange is a free debt advice service that provides practical solutions to people struggling with debt. They offer advice and support on various solutions, including debt management plans, individual voluntary arrangements, and bankruptcy.
- Citizens Advice: Citizens Advice provides free, impartial advice on various issues, including debt. They have local offices across the UK and can offer face-to-face support and guidance.
- Debt Management Companies: Several debt management companies offer fee-based services to help people manage their debts. These companies negotiate with creditors on your behalf and help you set up a debt management plan. They typically take a commission for this, so it’s essential to do your research and choose a reputable company.
- Debt Relief Orders: Debt Relief Orders are a form of insolvency that can help people in serious debt situations. They can be a good option for people with low incomes, limited assets, and debts of less than £20,000. You can apply for a Debt Relief Order through an approved intermediary.
- Debt Consolidation Loans: Debt consolidation loans can be a good option for people with multiple debts. These loans combine all your debts into one loan with one monthly payment. However, it’s essential to consider the interest rates and fees before taking out a debt consolidation loan.
Many online tools and resources can help you manage your debts, including debt calculators, budgeting tools, and debt management plans. It’s essential to seek help and support as soon as possible if you’re struggling with debt, as ignoring the problem can worsen.
Debt affects everyone in some way. As we move through the cost-of-living crisis, people may fall into debt and feel lost. Don’t fear; there are numerous support avenues available to you. It is essential to spot the early signs of debt and stop them before they start. However, if you find yourself in a position where that is too late, there are many ways to recover.
During this debt awareness week, reach out to anyone struggling and take some time to look at your finances and how you can ease any potential burdens.