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Parents And Grandparents See 'Big Growth' In Debt Problems

Nov 17, 2007
Older people in one southern town are increasingly struggling to manage their finances, it has been suggested.

According to the branch of Citizens Advice in Redhill, an increasing number of over-50s from the Surrey town are developing money management difficulties. The advisory service reports that such people are using cash from their winter heating allowances to purchase luxury items such as Christmas presents for their grandchildren, reports the Redhill and Reigate Life. It was claimed that as a result of unwise spending, such residents often find themselves struggling to pay off personal loans, utility bills, mortgages and other areas of financial demands in the weeks following the festive season.

Overall, the Citizens Advice branch is currently handling enquiries from Redhill residents who are about 3 million pounds in total in the red through unsecured loans, overdrafts and other means. Meanwhile, consumers in Horley come to the office with debts totaling 400,000 pounds.

In addition, the advisory service pointed out that February always sees an increase in the number of people struggling with credit card and loan repayments as the impact of excessive Christmas spending comes back to haunt them.

Elaine Parr, district manager for Citizens Advice, said: "Parents and grandparents are one of the biggest areas of growth in debt, which people always used to see as the preserve of the young and foolish. But nowadays older people are caught out by increases in energy bills and sadly some people's pensions are not providing the income they expected. Once they have left work, there is no way of adding to their savings and the pension shortfall is starting to bite."

Ms Parr also pointed out that many consumers are unwilling to recognise that they are developing financial difficulties until they get themselves into an untenable position from which to pay utility bills, secured loans, plastic cards and other monetary demands. She claimed that excessive Christmas spending is often a result of parents attempting to keep up with their peers in giving their children and grandchildren expensive gifts. In addition the Citizens Advice manager suggested that consumers do not budget their expenditure for the festive period. "It is like a big piece of string where they pay as much money as it takes," she claimed.

Meanwhile, Gill Walker, deputy chief executive of Age Concern Surrey, reported that older people's financial difficulties have not been helped as the winter fuel payment has not increased over recent years. Ms Walker stated that living expenses of all kinds, including heating bills, have risen. Consequently, such rises could well place pressure on a household's capacity for making payments on plastic cards and homeowner loans.

For those worried that they will be unable to manage their finances effectively in the post-Christmas period, the taking out of a debt consolidation loan may well be a good idea. As a result of applying for such a loan, money owed to numerous creditors and companies can be paid off quickly and easily. Speaking earlier this month, Esther James, credit card analyst for Moneyfacts, reported that in the approach to the festive season, many consumers will see their finances being "stretched to the max". However, she urged those who have debt problems to be proactive in getting back into the black.
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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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