Simon Read: Why it never pays to hide your debts from your family
Saturday 24 April 2010
Do you lie to your family about how much you owe? One in five of us does, according to research published this week by the Post Office. Apart from the problems that lying can bring to a relationship, there is the pressure that people in debt bring on themselves by not opening up to those close to them.
Covering up debt has serious physical and emotional consequences. At a simple level, that can mean sleepless nights and irritability, but worries can quickly spiral out of control, leading to depression and disaster.
"The more depressed a person becomes as a result of their money worries, the harder it is for them to deal with them," says Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of the Consumer Credit Counselling Service charity (CCCS).
Donna Dawson, a psychologist specialising in personality, behaviour and relationships, warns: "Hiding the extent of debt from a partner or family member may give us a false illusion of control or independence, but the reality is that our mental and physical health suffers – and once uncovered, the health of our loved ones suffers as well. The irony is that the very things we are trying to protect – our trustworthiness and our good self-image – are lost anyway when all is revealed. It is far better to operate as openly and honestly as possible from the start, and to take loved ones into your confidence at a much earlier stage – that way, debtors can get the help, support and advice they really need."
A key issue about covering up debt is that it often means not dealing with it. According to the Post Office, the average person now owes £9,731.51 but will only admit to half of what they owe when talking to a partner or family member.
There are a lot of reasons why people are tempted to lie about the amount of financial trouble they may be in, not least embarrassment. But facing up to money troubles is usually the first step in resolving them. "Anyone who is finding it difficult to make ends meet should seek help as soon as possible," says Malcolm Hurlston. "The sooner you get help, the better the outcome."
I couldn't agree more – and I'm happy to point you towards the free debt advice available from the CCCS helpline on 0800 138 1111 or online from its website at www.cccs.co.uk.
I have had an interesting email from a reader taking me to task for suggesting that contactless credit cards are a good thing. My correspondent expressed concern that just flashing the plastic is a lot less secure than swiping a card into a payment terminal and putting in a Pin. It's a good point. I'm all for progress and increased convenience and therefore the idea of contactless cards is one that appeals to me. I know from experience that if a card is cloned and used to steal cash, my money should be refunded by my card company, as long as it doesn't suspect me of being involved in the fraud.
But I also know from experience that banks spent years denying the possibility of card cloning and simply accused people who had money taken out of their accounts through ATMs of being careless with their cards and Pins. With that in mind, I plan to look at the whole subject of paying by plastic and security. I'm going to find out from banks just how they plan to ensure the new contactless cards are safe. But at the same time, I'd love to hear what you think about the increasing use of plastic. Are you embracing progress or are you held back by worries over security risks?
Pensions policies are damaging
political parties will damage your retirement plans, the Association of Consulting Actuaries has warned. The three main parties' manifestos pledge to improve the Basic State Pension are similar, but the ACA says the parties' policies for pensions and elderly care are "threadbare at best", often "piecemeal" and positively "damaging at worst".
Keith Barton, the chairman of the ACA, says: "The most depressing aspect of the parties' manifestos is their weak commitments in respect of reinvigorating private pension arrangements."
He wants the next government to focus its retirement policy on the promotion of a wide range of flexible retirement arrangements as part of a holistic approach to encouraging lifetime savings.
"Private pensions have done the most to improve pensioner incomes significantly over the last two generations, yet it is this sector that is now in a parlous state," says Barton. Financial incentives should be bigger to encourage saving for retirement, he adds.
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers a range of ...
£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisors are r...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree were established in 1986....
£40000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Compliance Manager is require...
Day In a Page
Previously two semi-detached properties, this five-bedroom home is spread over three floors with a large breakfast kitchen, orangery, office and gym on the second floor.
This five-bedroom home enjoys countryside views over the Blyth estuary to Southwold, offering flexible living space with a ground-floor annexe - ideal for use as a holiday let.
Close to the market town of Eye, this four-bedroom detached home offers a double-height living room which takes the place of the original, 19th-century, chapel nave.
Dating back to the 19th century, this four-bedroom home needs modernising. Spanning three storeys, the red-brick house has a fireplace, a small terrace and a cellar.
Just outside of Cambridge, this single-storey home offers three double bedrooms, a living room with vaulted timber ceiling and ladder steps that lead to a mezzanine study area.
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn.
A former coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, an attached office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Located beside an impressive Victorian viaduct, this four-bedroom home has an open-plan living area that is glazed on two sides, with skylights and high ceilings.
A former furniture workshop, this three-bedroom home has high ceilings and painted brick walls, in a village setting only fifteen miles from the coast.
This five-bedroom stone townhouse features a pine staircase and an Inglenuk fireplace, double doors from the lounge give access to an enclosed courtyard.
This five-bedroom, detached home blends traditional and modern design; the sleek kitchen features a gas hob and oven set within an exposed chimney breast.
Moored in Chelsea's Cheyne Walk, this houseboat offers two double bedrooms and a teak deck that's ideal for al-fresco dining.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B or countryside retreat, subject to change of use permissions.
This Grade II-listed three-bedroom home is situated on a private road, just a short walk from the sandy beaches of Frinton-on-Sea.
Less than five miles from Malmesbury, this four-bedroom cottage comes with equestrian facilities and gardens that extend to approximately three acres.
Spanning three storeys, this late-Victorian five-bedroom farmhouse is a spacious family home with a modern interior and B&B potential.
With an original church arch, this triplex one-bedroom church conversion has a light, spacious, feel and comes with a secure off-street parking space.
This recently-refurbished three-bedroom home has bi-folding doors that lead out to a decked seating area - ideal for alfresco dining this summer.
Well-located for coastal walks and popular restaurants, this detached four-bedroom home offers views over farmland, to the Solent, the Purbecks and Bournemouth.
If you love high ceilings, school conversions like this one are bang on the money. This two-bedroom flat is minutes from Burgess Park and the foodie haven at Borough Market.
Set within a church conversion in Bermondsey, this two-bedroom maisonette combines existing features, such as original arches and brickwork, with a contemporary finish.
In the pretty market town of Bungay, this grade II-listed Mill House is arranged over four floors, offering four bedrooms and three reception areas.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
This four-bedroom home offers a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining with doors that open to the patio and garden.
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.