Lying about debt – the true behaviour of cash strapped Britons

10th August 2015


A massive 41% of debt-burdened Britons keep there money woes a secret due to shame or guilt according to a survey from MoneySuperMarket.

The comparison site investigated how truthful consumers are with their partner, friends and family about their bank balances, and found 33% of those with debts have masked the amount.

This rises to 37% of women who bend the truth about money, while just 29% of men have lied. Overall, 23% of people in debt are most likely to keep it a secret from their family, 18% from their friends and 15% from their partners.

However, cash strapped Britons understate the amount most to partners than to friends or family. People in debt tell their partners they owe an average of £8,687, but in reality the figure is more than twice this – £17,481 on average.

Those hiding the truth from their family have £9,926 worth of debt, but claim to owe £5,192. Meanwhile those who are not honest with their friends say they are £8,292 in debt, but actually owe around £11,896.

The main reason for hiding debts is down to feeling guilty or ashamed, with 41% stating this, followed by 21% blaming stress. In addition, 10% have lied as they feel their partner, friends or family would be angry or would not approve.

Kevin Mountford, head of banking at MoneySuperMarket acknowledged that while debt can be a significant burden and can cause considerable stress he asserted it is worrying that so many people with debts are masking the real truth from the people closest to them.

He said: “The best way to cope is to tackle debts head on, not to bury your head in the sand and be honest to those closest to you, as they are the people who can often provide help and support. Firstly, make sure you are paying the lowest interest rate possible on your debt. The lower the rate, the faster you will repay it – even if you can’t afford to increase your monthly repayment. It’s also worth looking into consolidating several debts onto a cheaper form of credit, such as a card that charges zero per cent on balance transfers. Alternatively, a low rate credit card or loan may be a good option.“

Simple steps such as working out a realistic monthly budget and making spending cutbacks where possible can also make a big difference to your bank balance. There are also free debt charities such as Step Change or Citizen’s Advice who can offer additional help or advice.

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