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Borrowers 'Unrealistic' About Paying Back Loans

Aug 29, 2007
The majority of British borrowers have unrealistic expectations as to how long it will take them to complete making repayments on their debts, a new study suggests.

In research carried out by the Motley Fool, the average consumer expects to have cleared their debts in three years' time. However, the financial services firm claims that in reality credit cards and personal loans will not be paid off an average for seven years and seven months. The findings also showed that the typical borrower has non-mortgage debts of around 11,000 pounds.

With the average Briton putting about an eighth (13 per cent) of their salary towards debt repayments, many could be set to see pressure on their repayments last longer than expected. According to calculations by the company, which uses an example of interest charged at 14 per cent, two-thirds of all borrowers are reported to take 91 months to get out of the red - more than twice the amount of time they had expected to do so. Overall, for every 100 pounds borrowed they are set to pay back 167 pounds.

Findings also showed that older people could be in deeper financial difficulties, as two-fifths of people in their 40s currently owe more than 20,000 pounds. Meanwhile, a tenth of Britons over the age of 58 are in so much debt that they are unable to pay it back. Just under a fifth (19 per cent) of those owing over 20,000 pounds are not able to afford to make any repayments.

David Kuo, head of personal finance for the Motley Fool, said: "It is worrying to learn that two out of three people have taken on debts without fully understanding what is involved or how long it will take to repay the loan. For many, borrowing money is as easy as walking through a doorway. But it's a good idea to ensure that you have a way out before the door slams shut".

"Of course, people don't get thrown in prison for not paying their debts any more. It's much worse than that. Loans can now be drawn out indefinitely, which means that you are shackled to your lender forever rather than being incarcerated for a while."

As a result, those looking to avoid developing further debt problems were recommended to "budget carefully to identify where savings can be made", with selling unwanted items to raise extra funds also mooted. In addition, the Motley Fool advised making payments above the minimum monthly amount and clearing debts with the highest amount of interest first. Taking on a second job to supplement incomes was also another way consumers were told can help them pay off money owed more quickly.

Earlier this year, Stephen Rose, director of the Debt Advice Bureau, claimed that taking out debt consolidation loans could well be the best way for consumers to rein in their spending. He stated that by transferring money owed to various creditors into one monthly amount, they may be able to free up more cash to put towards credit payments. "Refinancing [debts] to lower the interest burden may be a solution," Mr Rose purported, adding that creating a budget may be another way to relieve financial pressures.
About the Author
Tom Dawson writes for Essentially Home Loans. Our visitors can apply for secured loans online, for whatever reason with whatever credit history. Visit us today for the best rate loans available.
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