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Tackling your debts

Secret Debts

Posted 25 August 2015

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The reasons why people can find themselves in secret debt and what they can do to solve the problem.

Everyone has secrets. It’s just part of being human that we keep at least some parts of ourselves hidden from those around us. But what if you’re hiding something from your other half? And what if you’re hiding a mountain of debt?

If this is you, you may be interested to know that you are not alone. According to The Telegraph, people in relationships across the country are hiding as much as £41bn in debt from their significant others.

This is clearly a serious situation to find yourself in, as it can have a dramatic impact on both your lives. Not to mention the emotional and mental strain of keeping something secret from someone who you’re supposed to be honest and open with.

But why do people find themselves in these situations and what should you do if you’ve been keeping the extent of your debt a secret?

Why do people keep their debts a secret?

There are certain financial responsibilities that come along with being in a serious relationship, especially if you are married. You might decide to split the rent or mortgage payments. If you’re going to apply for a joint mortgage, then both your credit ratings will affect whether or not you are approved. That is why it can be so scary to find yourself in a situation where you’re in debt and your other half doesn’t know.

Some people can find themselves in debt and keeping it a secret because they were not honest about their spending habits from the get-go. If you meet someone when you have lots of debt, it might not be the first thing that you tell them about yourself. Then over the years it becomes harder and harder to tell the truth, as you might feel embarrassed or ashamed of your money problems and the fact that you’ve been lying for so long. You might have fooled yourself into thinking that it wasn’t a big issue only to find that you can’t take out the joint mortgage you want because of your credit rating.

Maybe you’re the breadwinner for the family and feel under pressure to provide them with everything you think they deserve. If you then lose your job, don’t get that promotion you’ve been banking on, or your investments don’t work out, you might feel guilty that you can’t maintain the lifestyle that your family are used to. In some cases people turn to credit and keep their debt a secret because they don’t want to worry or deprive their family.

How to face the problem

Dealing with debt can be very challenging, and speaking about it, especially when you’re afraid of someone’s reaction, can be a frightening thing. It is important that you tell your other half as soon as you can though. Burying your head in the sand can only last for so long, and the sooner you speak out the sooner you can both work towards dealing with the debt.

 

Remember, that whatever the extent of your debt and how long you’ve been hiding it there will always be a solution that could help you. At the Debt Advisory Centre we are here specifically to help people in this kind of situation and can provide the starting point for becoming debt free. Don’t suffer in silence, use one of the “contact us” options on the side of the page and talk to someone about a solution for you. That way both you and your partner can have financial peace of mind. 

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.