Debt Awareness Week 2022 with StepChange Debt Charity
Now in its ninth year, StepChange Debt Charity’s annual Debt Awareness Week has arrived, providing new opportunities for honest conversations that help to remove the stigma around debt.
It’s no secret that debt can be hard to talk about!
Thousands are dealing with their debt alone because they feel a sense of shame and stigma around their financial situation. Unfortunately, this can often make the problem worse and prevent them from accessing the support they need, whether that’s emotional support from family and friends, support from creditors, or independent debt advice.
Starting the conversation with friends and family
50% of people in debt wait a year or more before seeking help. Unfortunately, as time progresses, they often find their situation continues to get worse.
A certain ‘tipping point,’ like an emergency expense or sudden change in circumstances, is often the point when the financial reality hits home. For example, you may have had your hours reduced at work, stopped working due to illness, taken time off to care for a loved one or been made redundant. These sudden changes to your life can cause a lot of anxiety and have a significant financial impact, especially if you’ve never navigated them previously.
If your mood is affected by financial stress, then it’s likely your close friends and family will sense that something’s wrong. You could be tempted to keep them at a distance rather than tell them what you’re dealing with but supporting each other is much better than struggling on alone.
Talking about money can be a daunting experience for anyone, but you don’t need to dive in headfirst – start as big or as small as you like!
Here are just a few examples of how you can get the conversation started:
- Share your savings goals or top money-saving tips
- Ask friends for help creating a weekly or monthly budget
- Talk about money with your children from a young age
- Discuss any life-changing events that can impact finances, such as retirement, long-term care, or problem debt
- Access confidential debt advice from a free organisation like StepChange Debt Charity
Talking to your creditors about financial worries
Letters are the main way most creditors will contact you about your debts, and you’ll receive quite a few of them if you regularly miss payments. Read any letters you get from creditors as soon as they arrive – some won’t require any action on your part, but it’s important to check thoroughly as others could be explaining what your creditor is going to do to collect repayments.
Keep creditors informed about changes to your financial situation and let them know if you’re taking any debt advice from a debt advice charity like StepChange. For example, if you’re struggling, you can send a letter to your creditor explaining why you’re struggling to pay the agreed amount. It’s best to provide a statement of your income and spending to demonstrate how much you have left after your essential household spending. After communication, your creditors may agree to new payment terms or pause debt collection for a while.
Struggling to find the words to explain your situation to creditors? StepChange have a variety of downloadable templates to tell your creditors you can’t afford to keep up with payments, ask for a temporary payment arrangement, make a complaint, or get information that can help you deal with your debts.
Accessing free debt advice
Thousands of people are struggling with money worries of their own. That means you're not alone, and there is most definitely a way forward.
We know this to be a fact, as every year StepChange Debt Charity’s team of experts help around hundreds of thousands of people with their debt problems, utilising more than 25 years of experience – that’s why you can be confident that their advice is always centred around what’s best for you. Not to mention, their advice is free, impartial, and completely confidential!
Are you interested in understanding your finances better? There’s no better time to start than right now. Take that first step and try their 60 second debt test today.