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Saturday 20th April 2024

Why you should talk to loved ones about debt

Over 14.2 million adults in the UK are in debt, this is equivalent to more than a quarter of the UK adult population, yet debt is still very much a taboo subject people avoid discussing.

Why is something that impacts so many of us so difficult to discuss? The stigma of debt and its negative emotions can be pretty debilitating and prevent people from seeking the help they need to address their debt problem. The shame and the fear of debt often leave people feeling alone and isolated.

There’s an old saying; a problem shared is a problem halved, and while the person you confide in may not literally be able to halve your debt, they can help you think of practical solutions to tackle your debt, provide you with emotional support, and point you in the direction of relevant services to assist tackling your debt.

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OK, now you’re convinced it’s time to speak to a loved one about your debt, but how do I start the conversation, you ask? Here are a few practical tips to help you begin the conversation.

1) Get clear on your debt

Before approaching your loved one, gather your thoughts and facts so that you’re ready to answer any questions that they may have about your debt.

Taking time to gather your thoughts and understand exactly where you currently stand will help bring you clarity and take stock of your current financial position.

How much money do you owe, and to who?

Have you been keeping up with repayments?

Are there any debts that have progressed to debt collections?

What have you done so far to tackle the debt?

2) Understand what you need

What do you want to get from this conversation with a loved one? Is it support in coming up with a plan to tackle the debt? Is it an accountability partner? Are you in need of financial advice?

Be clear on your needs so that when you initiate the conversation with your loved one, not only can you share your situation with them, but you can also tell them how they can support you on your journey.

3) Find the right time

It’s challenging to initiate a conversation about debt, and there is never really the “right time” to start the conversation. That said, while there isn’t a right time to have the conversation, there’s undoubtedly a wrong time.

Find a private space to talk, ensure you’ll have sufficient time for the conversation, and also choose a time when you’re on good terms. 

 4) Keep it real

When speaking to a loved one, it’s natural to want to protect them from the truth; however, doing this will not help you in the long run. Be open and transparent and share the complete picture of your debt with them. This will give them a full view of where you are and equip them to support you.

For example, the advice a loved one may give you if you’re in £5,000 debt may be significantly different from the advice they would give you at £25,000. Don’t share a partial truth.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Tolu Frimpong

Mouthy Blogger

Tolu is a Money Coach and Content Creator, passionate about helping others break the payday-to-payday cycle and achieve their financial goals, through the power of intentional budgeting, saving and investing. When she’s not talking about money you can find her spending time with her 3 boisterous boys.

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