How to spot the warning signs of someone in debt

With the big spend of Christmas now over, it’s a good idea to take control of your finances and plan for the year ahead.

Last January and February saw the busiest time of the year with debt and finance issues at our bureau. In 2017, our volunteer advisers logged 500 debt enquires across the two months. While the New Year is often associated with tight budgets and financial worries, our research also reveals that it is also a time where people take action.

We are expecting the same demand this year and suggest that everyone has a look at their own budget for the coming year as well as considering early warning signs to prevent problem debt amongst their friends and family.

The Money Advice Service has come up with a list of signs to watch out for in friends and family members that may suggest they are struggling with problem debts.

  • They have been in debt in the past
  • They are living beyond their means or over spending
  • They may seem more secretive, avoiding the subject of their finances and hiding any issues
  • They seem tired or are having trouble sleeping
  • Their weight has changed suddenly – either increasing or decreasing
  • A change in behaviour – avoidance, withdrawn, depressed
  • They have had a recent life event (such as having a baby, losing a job, illness, divorce or a family bereavement) which has caused a loss of income or for them to spend more
  • A change in spending habits – either reducing spending (e.g going on fewer holidays or eating out less) or overspending (spending without a plan for repayment for example putting luxury items on credit)

One or more of these signs may not necessarily mean there area underlying debt issues but it might be an idea to start a conversation and let them know there are not alone and that they can get free advice and guidance from us.

Read more on our debt page about what we offer and how we can help.

If you want to speak to an adviser you can visit us, phone us or chat to us online.