Debt! It’s a horrible word, and can be the source of significant problems in many people’s lives. Debt is something that people can often feel ashamed about, and is sometimes treated as an embarrassing secret that can cause anxiety, worry, and fear. It can also be the source of arguments and adversely affect relationships, as the stress it creates causes couples to argue about money, as they struggle to manage their debts.
The problems debt can cause
Take a typical example of a family of four, where the father dealt with the finances whilst the mother looked after the children. The mother liked to shop and they had a nice modern house with a modern mortgage to match. This couple managed well, without living beyond their means, but disaster struck when the father lost his job. Without a main income, the couple soon found themselves in debt, with charges being added to credit cards for late payments and letters arriving from the bank to announce they were in arrears with their mortgage. Because the husband managed the finances, he kept the worst of it to himself and shielded it from his wife, as he didn’t want to upset her. However the debt piled up very quickly and so did the risk of losing their home and the husband had to come clean. The constant pressure from lenders and the stress of trying to manage extremely difficult circumstances took its toll and their relationship suffered. Unfortunately they eventually lost their home and it seemed to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. The horrible destructive nature of a debt problem out of control had driven them apart and they separated as a couple.
Debt can cause people to act out of character and even lie to their partners and family, either to avoid the shame attached to being in debt, or perhaps in a vain attempt to protect others from the worry and anxiety. But the truth is it doesn’t help as the problem always needs to be faced up to and addressed with a solution.
A positive approach to debt
Another example is the caser of a young man who found himself in credit card debt after he also lost his job. In this case, there was far less at stake, but instead of trying to hide from the problem, the young man sought credit card debt advice and was helped to set up a debt management plan which froze the interest and charges on his cards, and allowed him to pay the debt off over a number of years. Instead of hiding his debt, he was open and honest about it and importantly he took action to resolve the problem, which worked out far better for him in the long run.
As we have shown, debt can cause many issues for individuals and families alike. Often, people can end up in debt through no fault of their own, either by bad luck or misfortune, as illustrated in the cases above. Despite this, many people feel ashamed and think they must hide the problem which is not the desired approach as this attitude can just exacerbate the problem. It is always good practice to look for the best debt advice you can. Debt in itself is not a bad thing, but it should always be taken seriously and if it becomes a problem should never, ever be hidden as that can often do far more harm than good.