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Older People In Wales 'Struggling With Debt'

Oct 12, 2007
A rising number of elderly people in Wales are looking for advice on managing their debts, new studies indicate.

The news comes as research released by the Welsh Centre for Credit Counselling revealed that the overall amount of money owed by people in the principality via loans, overdrafts, plastic cards and other types of borrowing is falling. However, it would appear that older Welsh residents are struggling with their money management as they are an average of 30,000 pounds in the red, which could see such consumers begin to fall behind in making repayments on personal loans and other demands on their spending.

Research from the charity also revealed that the level of those looking to the charity for advice on their borrowing has more than doubled over the course of the past five years up to nine per cent. Meanwhile, it is consumers aged 40 to 59 that appear to be experiencing the most difficulties with debt, as they are set to make up 41 per cent of people visiting the centre. In addition, Welsh women are experiencing greater difficulties with debt than men. And with 44 per cent of Welsh people looking for help with money management said to be homeowners, in comparison to the British average of 39 per cent, these people may have particular problems in paying back secured loans taken out against their property.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Welsh Centre for Credit Counselling claimed that such figures are a "worry", before stating that they make up part of the increasing problem in handling loans and other areas of financial burden that has been seen across the country.

The representative said: "You would be hoping people, especially in their late 40s and 50s, to be paying back their debt to be saving for their retirement. It's quite a marked trend. It may also be that people find it difficult to adjust to retirement and lower incomes. It may also be that people, if they own a property, think they have equity in their property, that perhaps the debt can be paid out of the equity."

Overall, some 6,000 people are set to ask the centre for advice over the course of this year - an increase from the 1,000 it recorded five years ago. Meanwhile, research from Citizens Advice showed that the proportion of personal debt enquiries in Wales has risen from 66,644 in 2005-06 to currently stand at 91,368 in 2006-07. However, a spokesperson for the advisory service stated that debt problems across all countries have surged and should not be particularly attributed to older people.

"Anecdotally, bureaux will see older clients on a low income committing to active credit commitments and being unable to manage their debt due to low financial capability and also irresponsible lending, particularly when it comes to unlocking money from their properties and also with maintaining larger properties," he said.

However those who find that they are unable to make any repayments may wish to take out a debt consolidation loan ahead of filing for insolvency through an individual voluntary arrangement or bankruptcy as doing so could leave them with greater financial freedom. Earlier this year, James Jones, consumer affairs manager for Experian, stated that people who choose insolvency ahead of a debt consolidation loan may discover that their access to jobs, property and cheap loans in the future is restricted as a result of damaging their credit history. Taking out debt consolidation loans could see borrowers reduce outgoings into one low-rate monthly repayment, helping them to free up more disposable income, without causing unnecessary harm to their financial report.
About the Author
Steve Smith writes for 1 Stop Finance Shop. A one stop shop for all your loan requirements, from payday loans, to secured personal homeowner loans, and UK tenant loans.
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