How to Spot if a Friend or Family Member Has Debt Problems

Up to 10% of UK adults are thought to have debt problems, and it’s only going to get worse. Rents rise, housing becomes unaffordable, petrol and food price inflation increases daily, and stagnated earnings fail to keep up. It’s a downward debt spiral and, for those trapped in it, it can be terrifying. So how do you spot the warning signs?

  1. Been There Before

Debt is a problem that keeps coming back. Some people are great with money; even if they’re living on virtually nothing, they’ll still contrive to be okay. Whilst some of better means still end up in trouble. As a consequence, going into debt can be a recurring state. If someone’s been in debt in the past, then they’re often at risk of doing so again.

  1. A Major Life Event

Losing a job, gaining a child, or going through a divorce can be all that’s needed to push someone over the edge. After all, their housing costs aren’t going to reduce to take account of their changed circumstances and they still need to eat. So look out for those changes and ask if they’re okay.

  1. You’re Seeing Less of Them

People in difficulty still have their pride. They don’t want to borrow and if they can’t pay their own way they’ll find a way to avoid awkward situations. So does that friend who was the life and soul of the party always have an excuse for not wanting to come out?

  1. Signs of Depression

Has somebody you know lost a lot of weight? Maybe they always seem tired and distant, or exhibit other signs of stress. What else might be causing it?

  1. Are They Gaining Weight?

Loss of weight can be a warning sign, but so can putting it on. Maybe a friend or family member has suddenly gained weight as a reaction to the worry or even as a consequence of comfort eating?

  1. Living Beyond Their Means

Has somebody you know increased the amount they’re spending through a devil-may-care attitude? You know they’ve taken a pay cut, but they’ve still bought the latest technology and this season’s fashions. Why not enjoy it if it’s going to be repossessed anyway?

  1. Changed Spending Habits

Not everyone hides their head in the sand when they’re in debt. Some do the right thing and stop spending money. You may notice they’re not wearing their signature perfume or skipping coffee at elevenses.

  1. Avoiding the Issue

Debt is one of the subjects that most people have great difficulty opening up about, and many even have difficulty being honest with themselves. Avoiding conversations that turn to financial matters can be a strong warning sign that all is not well.

Too many people get into difficulty when often, good debt advice is all that’s needed to help them onto the road to recovery. If someone you know has financial problems, encourage them to seek help at the earliest opportunity. For more advice on debt management, contact Irwin Insolvency.


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About the author

Gerald Irwin

Gerald Irwin is founder and director of Sutton Coldfield-based licensed insolvency practitioners and business advisers, Irwin Insolvency. He specialises in corporate recovery, insolvency,
 rescue and turnaround.