Whether you’re struggling to pay the bills, worried about how coronavirus is affecting your finances or simply looking to manage your money effectively, getting help early could make a real difference.
Everyone knows debt is a difficult topic – particularly under the current challenging circumstances we all face.
With 9.8 million people in the UK showing signs of financial distress, it’s clear many of us are feeling overwhelmed by money worries. Whatever the worry, it’s important to know where you can get help to deal with the situation and change your debt story.
StepChange Debt Charity provides the UK’s most comprehensive, free and impartial debt service, to over 600,000 new clients every year, but it warns that too many people may be waiting too long to get the help they need.
From talking to clients about their money worries the charity knows that some clients wait an entire year from the moment they start to worry about debt before they seek help. The charity’s research has found that waiting a year to get help leaves people on average over £5,000 more in debt than those who sought advice within a month.
That’s why the message behind StepChange’s annual Debt Awareness Week is simple: get help and get help early.
“I don’t think people realise how simple it is to get in touch with StepChange and get help – if you’re struggling, you should do it as early as possible,” says Hannah Day, a 34-year-old Care Home Administrator who has been a client of StepChange for two years.
Following an accident that left her unable to work, Hannah became pregnant unexpectedly and her debts were soon unmanageable.
“Both myself and my husband had an overdraft, but his was a lot bigger than mine. We also had a personal loan, furniture bought on finance, and we also owed money to HMRC and the DWP. So we had 5 or 6 big debts that we knew we just couldn’t pay.
I was stressed out constantly. I remember it was a really hot summer, but I kept all of the windows and doors shut because I was so scared that a debt collector would come around.”
It was then that Hannah got in touch with StepChange.
She said: “It was a huge relief to know that I wasn’t alone and had someone to talk to. It eased the pressure off me, and that night, I actually managed to sleep for the first time in a long time.”
Since contacting StepChange, Hannah has successfully paid off thousands and is well on the way to being debt free. All it took was an initial phone call to get started.
She added: “I’m so lucky I heard about StepChange and got help early otherwise I don’t know what would have happened, really.”
Why choose StepChange?
Find out from debt advisor Kirsty why it’s good to talk about debt in the video below.
StepChange Debt Charity is contacted by around 600,000 people a year and provides free, full, independent debt advice to more than 300,000.
Founded in 1993, StepChange supports people experiencing debt problems through telephone and online services, and campaigns for change to reduce the harm and stigma associated with debt.
StepChange provides comprehensive debt help on its website, including the ability to go through a full debt advice session and receive a recommended debt solution entirely online. This service is available 24/7, so you can get debt advice whenever suits you best.
To find out more about how you can change your debt story visit the website by clicking here.
Follow news and updates from Debt Awareness Week 2020 on social media: #ChangeYourDebtStory
For help and guidance about coronavirus and debt please see our guide, which is being updated regularly in line with the latest developments.
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©2020 Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263