More than a quarter of people ‘expect to start 2023 in debt’

On average, people expect that it will take 21 months to pay back what they owe.

More than a quarter of people ‘expect to start 2023 in debt’, Tesco Bank research finds iStock

More than a quarter of people will be seeing in the new year in debt, a survey suggests.

The types of debts covered included informal debts such as borrowing from friends or family, as well as credit card spending, overdrafts, loans or buy now pay later spending, according to research from Tesco Bank.

On average, people expect that it will take 21 months to pay back what they owe.

Two-fifths (43%) of 18 to 34-year-olds expect to end 2022 with some debt.

A third (33%) of people will be in debt because the cost of living crisis has added to their long term debts, the survey indicated.

Some people said they needed to borrow to cover high energy bills, or their rent. Some also said they had borrowed money to finance special occasions.

The bank also looked at how people view debt in the current climate.

A third (33%) of people surveyed believe it is very easy to slip into owing money and a similar proportion (31%) think there should be more awareness and support for people who are looking for help with their finances.

For some, debt remains a taboo topic, with 23% saying discussing debt would make them feel shame and embarrassment and 18% say they would never confess to anyone that they were in debt.

Gail Goldie, chief banking officer at Tesco Bank said: “A lot of us will ring in the new year owing money to either friends or family, a bank or payment provider and this means it’s important to look at how that debt is managed.

“Putting realistic plans in place, seeking the support of free and expert advice, distinguishing between the different debts you have, and knowing what you have coming in and going out, will help you feel on top of your finances.

“Depending on your personal circumstances, a debt consolidation loan could be a helpful way to manage your debts, potentially helping you to reduce the size of your monthly repayments.

“Also make sure that any borrowing is working hard for you. Look at where you can build points or get rewards with providers, like money off at the tills or cashback, to make the spending go a little further.”

Some 2,000 people across the UK were surveyed for Tesco Bank in October.

Charities such as StepChange and Citizens Advice can give support to people who are struggling with debt. The Government-backed MoneyHelper service also has a range of help with finances.

People can also visit the website to find out about the UK Government support available with living costs.

Anna Hall, head of debt operations at the Money and Pensions Service, said: “Credit can be a very useful tool, but it’s really important to consider which is the right product and whether it meets your needs long term. When essential bills are due and people need to balance the budget, they don’t always have time for these vital steps.

“If you’re struggling with your bills or credit repayments, help is available and you don’t need to struggle on alone. Our free MoneyHelper service is a good place to start because it offers in-depth guidance on credit, direct contact with experts and clear information on where to find debt advice for anyone who needs it.”

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