You Can’t Hide From Debt But Someone Might be Hiding Debt From You

Economic tides come in and go out like ocean currents, so it’s hard to predict finance outcomes, from one day to the next. On the subject of personal debt, for example, analysts interpret economic signs and signals on display in the UK, and then issue assessments that don’t always agree with one another. When conditions shift, even slightly, observers’ opinions about the future of personal debt in the UK also change, leaning-in to the economic news of the day. Amidst this overflowing stream of prognostication, a new detail has come to light, adding another twist to the story of UK consumer debt. According to recent research UK consumers are not always forthcoming about their financial status.

Who Wants to Know?

Much like other aspects of your financial life, your level of personal debt and total repayment obligations are details you control, to be shared at your discretion. Joint accounts and debts mutually acquired, such as married couple mortgages, are exceptions to the rule, because each party is individually responsible for the entire balance of a joint loan. Even if one borrower is only a cosigner, both parties are entitled to access information about repayment.

Unless legally entitled to view finance documents, there’s no rule compelling consumers to share debt details with friends and family members. A recent study shows that a large number of UK adults are apparently keeping credit and debt information to themselves. According to the Money Advice Service (MAS) nearly half of UK consumers are concealing substantial debt from family, partners, and friends. On average, the hidden debt rises to more than £4,000 per person.

MAS polling showed that at least 44 per cent of adults admitted to withholding information about outstanding debt, potentially representing a mountain of hidden debt totaling more than £96 billion across the UK.

Avoiding Difficult Conversations

When debt and finance issues cause a personal repayment crisis or make it hard to break the revolving debt cycle, many UK consumers have a hard time facing the problem head-on. Pretending everything’s fine puts off hard conversations with loved ones, who may be directly impacted by a poor outcome. Unfortunately, until the debt is brought to the surface, the problem can grow worse, without proper attention.

If you’re already struggling to wipe problem debt, balanced spending and discretionary discipline can help you avoid burgeoning balances and stabilise cash flow. When you do borrow, selecting the right type of credit can help keep repayment affordable, without sacrificing access to fast cash. As money’s needed, it only takes a little time and research to acquire financing online, often without a formal credit check. And if revolving accounts are a source of difficulty, using credit cards as a last resort or adopting a “cash only” approach helps keep costs in line

Of the 4000 UK adults polled for the recent debt study, nearly one-third of respondents in relationships admitted their partners don’t know the whole story, when it comes to outstanding personal debt. The figure is higher between friends, with 50 per cent of men and 43 per cent of women revealing their closest friends are completely in the dark about their debts. Credit card debt topped the list of hidden balances, with money owed to banks, building societies, friends, and family filling out the list of common hidden debts.

According to recent survey results, a substantial share of UK consumers hide debt details from close friends and family members – even when financial conditions cause crises. Although the findings are cause for concern, the people polled don’t have malicious intentions. In many cases, the taboo surrounding excess debt prompts consumers to hide details of which they’re not proud. And other Britons conceal their debts to protect their partners and loved ones, because they don’t want to burden them with finance concerns beyond their control.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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