We need to talk about debt…and half of us don’t

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Much of the UK is silently suffering from debt as the cost of living crisis shows no signs of abating.

Almost half (47%) of the UK population will not talk about debt with friends or family, while 41% are worried about being able to pay their bills on time, according to a survey by comparison site Go.Compare.

However, the survey also revealed that there is a generational divide around the issue of debt. More than half (52%) of people aged 55 and over – the highest response – remained silent, but this figure fell to just 43% and 41% of those aged 18-34 and 35-54 respectively .

Go.Compare noted that “this could mean that there is less and less stigma around debt among younger generations.”

Yet, given the growing cost of living crisis, financial transparency with loved ones is now more vital than ever, as hiding debt can add undue stress and burden to a family unit.

Sue Anderson, media officer at debt charity StepChange, said: ‘Debt can be difficult to talk about, especially with those closest to you… but talking to someone you trust can really help ease the burden of going through financial problems on your own.

“Research for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) this summer found that two-thirds of people who delayed getting debt help wished they had acted sooner.

“If you are in debt, help is available. A charity like StepChange will look at your income, expenses and debts and provide you with free, confidential and unbiased debt advice tailored to your situation.

Debt consolidation on the rise

Meanwhile, the research also found that more than a third of adults are considering consolidating their debt – 17% of respondents had used debt consolidation loans in the past. A similar figure (16%) said their view of debt consolidation had changed due to the cost of living crisis.

Matt Sanders, personal finance expert at Go.Compare, said: “If you’re considering consolidating your debt, we recommend doing a simplified search using our loan comparison tool before you start applying.

“It’ll show you the deals and rates you’re likely to qualify for, helping you make an informed decision on what works for you.”

Early September, YourMoney.comalongside Pepper Money, explained why you shouldn’t see debt consolidation as a last resort.

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