Tackling your debts

You’re not alone with problem debt

Posted 25 April 2016

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If you’re dealing with problem debt, you’re not alone. There’s help out there - you just need to reach out.

Fighting problem debts can feel like an uphill battle, but it’s important to remember that you don’t have to do it alone. 

At the start of the year, the BBC reported that the level of debt in the average household has risen to £13,520. This led debt charities to warn that if interest rates go up, people who are relying on credit to get by could struggle. 

From our own research, we know that there has been an increase in the number of young women finding themselves in problem debt and becoming insolvent. So, it’s clear that if you’re worried about money right now, you’re not the only one. 

Facing up to a financial problem can be scary but when it comes to debt, the longer you leave it the worse it may get – because if you get behind with your payments your lenders may keep adding interest and charges to what you owe.  But there’s always a solution to problem debt - you just need to make a start tackling it. And the good news is there are people who can help you. 

We can help

If you feel like there’s no way out of your debts, we’re sure you’ll be happy to find out you’re wrong. There is a range of debt solutions that could help. These are plans you put in place with your creditors to repay or, in some cases, write off your debts. 

Explore the debt solutions we offer and you’ll see what each one could do for you. To find out for sure whether you’re eligible for a certain solution, you need to seek expert advice, which you can get free of charge using the options on the left, fees may be payable if we provide continuing services.  Our advisors are trained and experienced professionals and will always recommend the best solution for your needs. There’s also lots of free and impartial advice available from the Money Advice Service. 

We’ve helped over 400,000 people find a way out of debt so we know more than most how common money worries and debt problems are – and how to get on top of them. If you want to hear from other people in the same situation as you who we’ve helped, our Feefo page is the place to go. 

Contact your creditors

If you’d rather deal with your debts yourself then the first step is to contact your creditors.  Contacting your creditors to explain that you’re having trouble paying them back might be the last thing you want to do, but it is important. 

They may be more understanding than you think – they often just want to know that you’re putting a plan in place to pay them back and not ignoring the issue. They might be able to help you work out a new payment plan you can afford, offer you a payment holiday or freeze interest and charges for a time.

Take our Money Smart Report

If you’re not sure where to start with sorting out your finances and tackling your problem debts, why not take our Money Smart Report below? 

find m solution

The report takes all the important facts and figures about your finances and gives you information you can really work with to improve your situation. For instance:

• your incomings and outgoings each month

• how much you spend on each area of your life

• how much of every £10 you earn is paid towards your debts

• whether your debts have become a problem

• a list of the possible debt solutions that might be available and links to learn more about them

• helpful hints and tips for getting in control of your finances and debt-free.

Get the emotional/mental support you need 

We know that problem debt doesn’t just have an effect on your finances, but on your mental and emotional wellbeing too. As well as alone, you may be feeling anxious, depressed and even hopeless. 

The Royal College of Psychiatrists tells us that half of the people with debts also have a mental health problem, so it’s clear that debt and mental health are two issues which very often go hand-in-hand. If you feel that your debt problems have started to take a negative toll on your mental health, read our blogs Debt and Depression parts one and two for advice on what to do next. 

This NHS page also has lots of help and advice if you’re looking for ways to improve your outlook on life while dealing with your debts. 

You might find that just talking to someone helps ease the burden of debt as sharing whatever you’re going through with someone else can be a huge relief. If there’s someone you’re close to who you can confide in that’s great, or you could see whether there’s a local mental health support group or forum that you could take part in. 

If you feel unable to cope with life because of your debt problems, or any other reason for that matter, make an appointment with your GP to discuss this straightaway. They can chat with you about your situation and suggest help and support that could put you on the road to recovery.  


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.