Debt of the Future

by : Nicola Bullimore

When we look at the statistics of debt in the UK do we consider the effect this has on our everyday lives and country as a whole?

  • Britain's personal debt is increasing by ?1 million every four minutes.

  • The total credit card debt in April 2006 was ?56 billion!
  • 39% of Brits overspend on their credit cards on day-to-day purchases

It is clear that Britain is in debt, but just how much thought do we give to this and the implications?

We rely on businesses and businesses rely on us.

A business provides jobs only as long as it is making a profit. In order to make a profit, a business needs sales. Without sales, there is no business, no job and no income. Not only for the manager/director but also for the employee.

If Britain is a nation in debt then surely businesses and households across the nation will feel the effects. People can't spend what they don't have, and if people are not spending, then businesses are suffering.

Incredibly the number of people earning more than ?30k a year asking for financial help has risen by 275% in the last 3 years!

Encourage and Educate

It is becoming clear that we need to be educated when it comes to our finances. We need to be encouraged to become fully aware of what we are getting into when we take out loans or spend on credit cards rather than get caught in the debt trap.

Because we cannot predict the future, we do not know whether we will be caught out or not, so it is essential we are brought round to the way of thinking that, if we can't afford to pay for it now, then we should save up for it.

Of course, for many people it is too late for this kind of thinking, but not for our younger generations.

From our own experience, should we not be thinking of educating our young people regarding the implications of taking out credit if all goes wrong?

29% of 16-24 year olds said they would not know how to prepare and manage a weekly budget.

62% of young people said if they get into money trouble of debt, they would not be able to name any advice or support services they could turn to for advice.

Bankruptcies among 18-29 age group have more than doubled in the last 4 years!

Surely this spells something out to us?

Take A Stand Against Debt

Its great that we have Debt Management Companies such as Payplan to turn to when we find ourselves struggling with our financial situation, however, it would be much better if there wasn't a need for companies such as these.

We could continue to blame the creditor for their lending systems which seems to make obtaining credit easy, and the Government for allowing so much advertising of credit, but once we have experienced financial difficulty ourselves and know the implications, then it is up to us to do something about it and to educate and empower our younger generation to not follow in our footsteps.

Getting Somewhere

The good news is, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are working with the Dept. for Education and Skills, the main curriculum agencies and other organisations to help teachers deliver personal finance education.

The Personal Finance Education Group (PFEG), funded by the FSA and the Dept. for Education and Skill, aim to promote and facilitate the education of all UK school pupils about financial matters.

The Department for Education and Skill's guidance suggests that schools teach:

  • 5-7 year olds, that money comes from different sources and can be used for different purposes
  • 7-11 year olds, to look after their money and realise that future wants and needs may be met through saving,/li>
  • 11-14 year olds, what influences how we spend or save money, and how to become competent at managing personal money
  • 14-16 year olds, to use a range of financial tools and services, including budgeting and saving in managing personal money

The Solution Before The Problem

It is encouraging that the focus to educate young people is in the pipeline, however, surely the questioning of how much freedom creditors have to advertise their services needs attention? Daytime television is full of advertising for loans and credit cards, and how many letters do we get through our doors for loans and credit cards, tempting us to take out credit?

These are areas that also need consideration.

If things continue as they are, then the nation will continue to feel the repercussions of debt. More and more businesses will fail and more and more people will be out of work

It is imperative that the Government look at the whole picture as well as thinking about ways to handle financial difficulty and educate our young people. They need to take a long hard look at the credit lending system and advertising campaigns to change the way people look at credit and to realise the implications of taking out credit should all go wrong.

Over indebtedness not only affects your finances, but also has a great emotional impact on your life. We cannot just rely on the Government to deal with it, we need to take a stand ourselves to stamp out debt in our nation.