Daily Archives: December 9, 2010

How Debt is Destroying Families!


Now, we all know that debt does not affect you alone, it will affect everybody that depends on you, including you work mates for those who are employed. Everyone who has a family that depends on him or her, is feeling the pinch right now.  More and more families are breaking up because of the debt that is facing them, that is why it is always advisable to keep you partner in the picture regarding such an issue as debt. This not only keeps your partner aware of the financial situation of the family, but they can also give good advise when in comes to debt matters. You know what they say, ‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’ Ricardo Reeves in the following article, gives a summary of how a family can be destroyed by the debt load facing them.

Despite the escalation in reports in the press and online of warnings of looming economic crisis, it appears that few of us were in a strong position to weather the storm. More and more people are turning to debt management companies, as they are incapable of dealing with their debt problems on their own, having continued to borrow despite governmental and financial institutions urging frugality. Before the crisis, over twice as much was borrowed between January and March this year compared to the same period last year (£22.8billion and £9.5billion respectively). Eventually, however, financial capriciousness catches up with the average household, and the only thing to suffer in the long run is the family unit.

The U.K. has the worst personal debt problem in Europe, around a third of the total European debt figures, although recently the continent has been catching up. One possible reason for this is the U.K.’s historically inherited attitude towards home ownership: “An Englishman’s home is his castle”. The home-ownership rate in England currently stands at just under 70%. Traditionally, Europeans have less of a fixation on ownership and a more relaxed attitude towards rented accommodation. This means that they are overall in less debt and less pressure to find the funds to manage their debt effectively. The ultimate result of this is that they and their relationships are under less stress as a direct consequence, leading, for the most part, happier lives.

In the U.K. they also suffer from the highest level of family breakdown, and these figures are undoubtedly correlated. Many couples admit that the question of debt is one that dominates their relationship, whilst one partner in 1 in 5 relationships are scared of discussing the matter with their partner. The figure in the U.K. currently stands at 1.9 million lone parents – up 15% from ten years previously – and with 70% of young offenders heralding from broken families, it is not unrealistic to surmise that our refusal to meet our debt bugbear head-on, costs both our family lives and our public services more in the long run.

The problem of debt management is a universal one, straddling the ever-widening social gap. From high earners to the middle classes to low-income families, all are affected by debt. It is unquestionable, though, its effects hit those low-income families hardest. Many of the lowest earners are forced into sub-prime lending, and the higher interest rates that is often a characteristic. This exacerbates the situation and only serves to make money even tighter, causing more arguments, greater family discord and further breakdown.

All of this makes grim reading, but it is not too late to tackle it. Dealing with debt sometimes seems impossible, and thus we allow ourselves to slip further into the quagmire. Brushing it under the carpet, as we have seen, is not an option and for the sake of our very happiness we must take steps now to manage our debt effectively. In short, our poor debt management is hurting us financially, socially and emotionally, and it is the single most important social issue facing the U.K.

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