The social stigma of debt and the problems it brings

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the social stigma of debt and the problems it bringsLiving as we are within this increasingly unstable twenty-first century economy, it is a sad reality that more and more individuals are unfortunately finding themselves falling victim to financial problems. Granted, debt is not a new phenomenon by any means, but the relatively recent analyses into its effects on a person’s wellbeing has brought a new level of understanding to just how damaging it can be if not handled correctly. Financial stress breeds further, more strongly-embedded personal problems that, if not tackled correctly, can have profoundly crippling consequences.

The negative impact of debt

The fact that debt makes people unhappy should be no big secret, and it would be disingenuous to assume otherwise. But just how severe is the extent of the damage that can be caused when one finds oneself increasingly faced with the grim spectre of monetary woes? Well, in its broadest sense, it’s pretty severe. A 2010 Guardian summary of an investigation carried out by the CCCS (Consumer Credit Counselling Service) emphasised that an average eight out of ten people asserted that debt was negatively impacting their personal lives. The range of problems reported amongst respondents included deteriorating personal relationships, health-related issues, and impaired workplace performance. This should really come as little surprise. Having constant worries about your financial status looming at the back of your mind is certain to distract even the hardiest of individuals.

Self-enforcing problem

One aspect of debt that is doubtlessly responsible for the ongoing nature of such personal issues is the way that monetary imperfection has become increasingly stigmatised within the community dynamic. People have come to view debt as emblematic of an inability to cope with the real world, and as such there are very few people willing to seek professional debt help and advice to really kick-start an escape from their situations. Nobody wants to be seen as asking for help, as nobody wants to be seen as weak by their friends and peers. This outlook is something that only serves to make the negative effects of financial stress even more damaging, and that in turn makes a proper recovery an even more distant goal. Another side effect of this social stigma that is just as detrimental is that it has given rise to a new breed of reprehensible “payday lenders”. For these economic vultures, an individual afflicted with monetary woe is their golden ticket. By luring in the vulnerable and debt-stricken, they are able to take full advantage of the situation, offering a “lifeline” that more closely resembles a financial death sentence than it does any real escape.

It’s all too easy to fall prey

The appeal of such companies lies in their discreet nature. People can for example take out popular debt consolidation loans in an attempt to solve their debt problems from the safety of their own home – be this by telephone or over the internet – away from the scrutiny of other more discerning glances from those around them. Those in particularly unenviable financial situations see this as the best course of action, but in actual fact it is perhaps the worst (second only to – and of this I am not even 100% sure, such is the nature of the beast – doing nothing at all). If more and more people were able to look past the social stigma that is unfairly attached to debt and its related issues, then more and more people would get the real debt solutions they need.

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