18.84% of Scots believe they will never be debt free in their lifetime. That’s one of the stark findings of a new survey by debt help company Scottish Trust Deed. With the figures for other parts of the UK even worse, the company has been exploring the reasons behind long-term debt, and has found that the debt itself is only part of the problem.
“When it comes to managing debt, we’re dealing with a dangerous cocktail of factors,” said a spokesperson for Scottish Trust Deed. “Our own survey shows that more than half of Scots admit to doing things that can adversely affect debt levels (like using credit for everyday expenses). Almost 40% of Scots feel ‘judged’ over their debt levels, showing that the stigma surrounding debt – or the perception of being stigmatised – is all too real.
“Then there’s the temptation to ignore debt problems – the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach that sees debt letters go straight in the bin. And there’s a lack of understanding about how best to deal with debt, and about the credit agreements many of us enter into in the first place. In our survey, a quarter of respondents said they simply didn’t understand all the terms and conditions they were signing up for.”
Debt Help Enquiries Increasing
In Scotland, the number of Scottish Trust Deeds granted in the last quarter of 2017 was up by 6.9% year on year. According to the Accountant in Bankruptcy, Debt Arrangement Schemes were up almost 10% over the same period. And these are not the only solutions available to someone struggling to manage debt. Yet despite the fact that more people are seeking debt management advice – the numbers remain dwarfed by the proportion of people who could benefit from seeking debt help.
“This survey suggests that too many people in Scotland see their debt as a lost cause – and it really doesn’t have to be that way,” added a spokesperson from financial comparison site www.finance.co.uk.
“It’s vital that anyone who feels that they can’t escape debt takes another look at their situation – that they don’t accept simply accept it, ignore it or assume that nothing can be done.”
“People can escape debt,” says Scottish Trust Deed. “And often the first step is to ask for help.”