Brits don’t start worrying about their debt until it exceeds £6,000

An average adult in the UK does not begin to feel concerned about their debt level until it hits £6,012, a study commissioned by Salary Finance revealed.

Furthermore, many Britons would not consider themselves ‘in debt’ until they owe in excess of £3,882, and only begin viewing the deficit as a ‘serious concern’ once they need to repay more than £6,000. However, while the average adult starts worrying when they owe £6,000, one in six claimed they would only become concerned over their debt level when the figure reached upwards of £10,000.

According to the study, almost 40 per cent of adults in the UK are already concerned about the amount of debt they are in, and just under half of them view having some level of debt as the norm, no longer seeing it as a negative thing.

Almost a third of respondents claimed that owning a credit card, loan or using an overdraft is a necessary part of everyday life.

Salary Finance CEO Asesh Sarkar explained that, in today’s world, it is “normal” for people to have some kind of debt.

“However, these stats are telling, in that people are not tackling their debt until it reaches thousands of pounds, and by this stage it is causing them to worry and may be difficult to control,” he said. “When you’re already seriously in the red, a one-off unexpected expense can cause major issues, leading to missed payments, bad credit and a situation where people are forced to turn to high interest borrowing to stay afloat.”

According to the study, the average adult has a total debt, excluding student loans and mortgages, of £6,936. This figure includes two credit cards with a total balance of £1,871. In addition to this amount, 20 per cent of adults tend to use their overdraft in a typical month, with the average adult owing their bank £304.

Researchers also revealed people’s feelings towards different types of debt, and what constitutes as good versus bad debt. Three quarters believe a mortgage is an example of good debt, and a further 47 per cent feel the same about student loans. But, while 61 per cent think dipping into the overdraft constitutes bad borrowing, 18 per cent labelled it ‘good debt’.

Sarkar added: “The survey shows that people should be careful they don’t take a wider acceptance of debt as a reason to get out of control with their finances. Not only does this lead to a spiral of debt and exclusion from many normal borrowing routes, but it also impacts on wellbeing, with people more likely to suffer from stress and even depression.”

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