What prevents people accessing debt advice?
There are at least three broad barriers that prevent people from seeking advice or delay in seeking advice.
These barriers are personal barriers, knowledge barriers and accessibility barriers.
Personal barriers are probably the most significant barriers in preventing individuals accessing formal or informal advice. The most common one being feelings of shame and embarrassment which can easily have a disabling effect. Again, our debt stress management tools will help overcome some of their thought patterns that give rise to feelings of embarrassment or shame.
The perception that debt problems are private or personal matters prevents individuals from seeking advice from family and friends, more so than form professional services.
What makes matters worse is the perception that getting into debt is morally wrong or taboo in society, however, the truth is that most of us live on some form of credit or debt and perceptions are nothing more than mere concepts and opinions, they do not solve the practical problems of debt.
Other personal barriers are when an individual feels that they do not want to burden their family and friends of their problems.
Finally, a perception that ones debt problems are not serious may prevent them from seeking advice earlier on the debt cycle.
Knowledge and awareness of debt advice availability prevents individuals from seeking or accessing debt help. Not having knowledge about what type of advice and guidance is available or extend to which advice may be able to help prevents individuals from seeking advice. There are ranges of services available, which are listed on the 0debt.co.uk site.
Finally, accessibility to organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux, CAB can also become a barrier to accessing advice. The most common complaint from people being the length of time to get an appointment and convenience for those in employment. 0debt.co.uk is a 24/7 site, developed to provide access to advice, support guidance as well as access to organisations that can help those with debt problems at anytime.
Type of advice
Using formal advice providers and assistance can result in a number of ways to address debt problems.
Develop a payment plan: This can be developed by agencies such as CAB, however a template is also provided in our tools section.
A payment plan is its simplest form calculating expenses against income to establish level of instalment that can be afforded. Once established, its then discussed and agreed with creditors into a debt payment plan.
Organisations such as CAB can help directly by contacting the creditors on behalf of the debtor and organise a repayment plan that is affordable and acceptable to both parties. Additionally, CAB and the like can also provide instructions that are helpful in debtors directly contacting their creditors directly. This type of advice may be also available from local council offices.
Finding out what benefits you are entitled to can greatly ease the stress as well as the practical problem of debt or a repayment plan. CAB are a good source of this information as is the local council and some community centres.
Offering emotional support and counselling
Non-legal sources of advice are just as important when one is faced with the burden to debt. If we consider what happens to us when we discover that we have a debt problem, its evident that we become worried, anxious and stressed, this in turn gives rise to emotions and physical reaction to both the mental and emotional stresses.
GP or mental health professionals are a good source of advice and support, however, we can find emotional support by talking with friends or family members, someone who will listen, and someone to who you can share, complain and discuss your debt problem.
0Debt.co.uk has established a forum for people in similar situation, who understand what you are going through and also access to those people who have come out the "other" side.
Simple money saving tips and advice, cost saving strategies and how to manage your money can greatly help during periods of debt burden.