Debt carries a stigma, and you may be embarrassed or ashamed. Please don’t be. The numbers of people in debt are much higher than you will realise and although it may feel at times completely hopeless, there is always something that can be done to start your journey to get out of debt. The first step you should take is to get a debt review or debt counselling. When I was in debt, I totally admit that at the time I was embarrassed about my position, but having come through it and made it to the other side, I can see that hiding my situation and not talking about it made it worse.
Realistically you will need to talk to people and get some advice. The first thing I would recommend doing is gathering all your paperwork together and trying to work out what you owe and to which companies. Whether you like an Excel Spreadsheet or pen and paper, try and put some figures together. If you are not good with numbers, perhaps you could ask a friend or relative to help you. There are many options that you may wish to consider, including reduced settlements, an IVA from Creditfix, contacting the people you owe money to directly and even bankruptcy, however you should not rush in to something without getting advice from a professional who will advise you as to the best thing to do for your situation.
Understanding where you are at will help you move forward. If you feel that you cannot see a way out of the debt you are in or need some more information you may need more in depth advice and support.
What not to do
It is important that you do not borrow any more money or agree to anything without getting advice. A payday loan may sound great to pay off your debts this week, but the high interest rates charged will only cause further financial hardship, and the spiralling costs can end up crippling you further.
Debt and mental health – how to get help
Being in debt can be overwhelming and scary. It is really important that you don’t bury your head in the sand and hope it goes away. It can have a very real and devastating effect on your mental health, which in turn can negatively impact your financial situation further. If you are feeling overwhelmed and need to talk to someone in the short term here are some useful numbers:
Mind Infoline – 0300 123 3393 (weekdays 9am – 6pm)
Saneline – 0300 304 7000 (everyday 6pm-11pm)
Samaritans – 116 123 free from any phone (UK) – open 24 hours a day
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone, you can get help with your anxiety through online therapy.
If you are thinking about hurting yourself or someone else – please call 999.
2 Replies to “Debt first steps – what you should do first”
You are 100% there is no need to feel any guilt or shame about debt! There are so many people who live with debt, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of as most of us will be in debt at some point, especially in this day and age!
In fact, hiding your debt and not seeking any help for it is a lot more detrimental and harmful to you than dealing with it straight away.
Glad to see people talking about this more and more and increasing awareness of the matter, as this needs to be spoken about more!
Really informative post and resources! 🙂