Many People Keep Debt Problems Secret From Their Partners
A survey from the Co-operative Bank has revealed that there are millions of people in Britain who are keeping their debt problems secret from their loved ones. With so many people trying to hide their financial woes from those around them, it shows how difficult it can be to get help and become debt free.
A shocking 11% of women hide debts from their partner, while 15% of men will keep their money problems to themselves. These are incredibly worrying findings; one in every seven men and one in ten women who are battling against debt, are doing it without the support of those around them. This adds up to an estimated £41 billion of ‘secret’ debt, according to the Co-operative Bank’s Modern Families and Households report.
Fighting debt in silence
The survey also showed us that around two thirds of people in Britain are in debt. This includes mortgages, credit cards, loans, overdrafts and other common forms of credit. Women appear to owe a lot more money than men; the average British woman racking up £22,418 of debt compared to £14,228 for men.
Christina Blacklaws from the Co-operative Legal Services, said: “Many people facing relationship breakdown may be shocked to find out that they may have responsibility for their ex-partner’s debts, even if they were not aware of them.”
If one person in the relationship is entered into certain kinds of debt agreements, there could be shared liabilities that may only manifest themselves when something unfortunate happens; “Even if your partner dies, debts may well be passed on to you as an individual or to the estate. Legally speaking if a married couple decide to divorce, they have to disclose all of their money and assets as part of the process to the courts, if a prenuptial agreement has not been agreed.”
Ms Blackwell warned that any hidden cash or debts could result in “severe consequences” if they are not revealed, adding: “Unmarried couples do not have the same rights as married couples, therefore it is important that people who are in this situation know exactly what their rights and responsibilities are.”
Ways to deal with debt together
Getting a joint bank account is one way of helping to ensure that you have financial transparency with your partner, but most couples do not take this simple step. Only 38% of those interviewed had a joint current account, while 25% of couples share a savings account. Being open about debt and keeping a joint account are not necessarily always related, but the relatively low number of couples who literally share their finances is food for thought.
You should never keep debt secret, both for your own sake, and for the affect it could have on those close to you. Debt has been proven to be a trigger of stress and mental health problems for many people who are affected by it. You should make sure that other people know about your struggles; it will all come out eventually.
If you are struggling with debt, make sure that you seek professional advice as soon as possible. The longer you are fighting debt, the worse it can become. There are many solutions available to you, from debt management to Individual Voluntary Agreements, so do not suffer in silence. It is easy to pick up the phone and speak to a debt adviser, or another debt professional, so do not delay it any longer.
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