Honesty is the best policy when it comes to debt
If you are struggling with debt, being honest about it is very important. This includes being honest with those you owe money to, being honest with your family, and most of all being honest with yourself. The sooner you accept that money has become a real issue, the sooner you can face up to it and do something about it. If you ignore debts, it doesn’t take long before they get out of hand. The sooner you start doing something about it the better.
A recent survey shows that a third of people with personal debt keep it a secret from their partner. Now whether this is from guilt, because you think they will be cross with you, or because you want to protect them from the worry that knowing the realities of the household finances will cause, it really isn’t the best option.
When you are both fully aware of the situation, it can help in many ways. A problem shared is a problem halved, and you will probably feel like a weight has been lifted when you share your debt problems with your partner. They may be angry with you, or upset with you, but that will pass, and they will want to solve the problems. Now you have two minds working on solutions, and two people to do the practical things that will help you towards dealing with your debts. Importantly, your partner will now know that cutbacks need to be made. It could be that thinking everything was fine, they’ve been buying expensive clothes, going to an expensive gym, or eating out a lot. All fine when you’re well off, but when you have debts, these are all easy things to give up that can make a lot of difference to your finances.
Being honest with the companies you owe money to will also go in your favour. All the major companies are used to people struggling to pay and they have several ways to help you. If you’re struggling with your utility bills or your mortgage payments, call them, explain the situation and see what they can do to help you.
Also be honest with friends and family. Explain you can’t afford lavish presents this Christmas, explain that you can’t afford to go to the fancy restaurant with them, but perhaps they could come round to your place for a barbecue instead if everyone brings something to eat and drink with them. People will understand, and when they know you are struggling they won’t put you in awkward positions such as asking to borrow money and inviting you to events that will cost a lot of money. You may find that people will think of you in other ways too, such as when they get rid of clothes their kids have grown out of, they might bear you in mind and offer them to you.
Being upfront and open about your debt problems is the first step to tackling them. Don’t put it off, get on top of your debts before they overwhelm you.