Simon Read: Why it never pays to hide your debts from your family

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.

s.read@independent.co.uk

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

    £13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Are you passionate about sale...

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Developer (Trainee) - City, London

    £25000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A large financial services company...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Assistant - Financial Services Sector - London

    £20400 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and highly reputable organisat...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future