The latest research from Thomas Charles has found that divorced or separated people who are in debt worry most, put on weight easier, and are most medically depressed.
The research shows:
– 44% of people, 3.5 million adults, with high levels of unsecured debt are worried about their level of debt, a figure that soars to 54% for separated people.
– 15%, 1.2 million adults, believe it has adversely affected their health and 8%, 640,000, say it has caused them to be medically depressed
– Separated people are three times more likely than average to be medically depressed because of debt; and divorcees twice more likely
– Divorcees are twice more likely than average to put on weight because of debt
– 17% of women say debt has adversely affected their health compared to only 14% of men
– For 12% of live-together couples debt has a negative impact on their sex life
The research, conducted by YouGov last month, established that 19% of the adult population, around eight million, has unsecured debts of 10,000 and over.
The research then focussed in depth on a sample of 1,366 adults from this group and explored the impact debt has had on their lives: health, relationship, progress at work, plus their innate attitudes to finance: budgeting, spending habits etc.
It says the impact debt has on health is concerning. Some 15% of people with a high level of debt say that it has adversely affected their general health.
The separated and divorced sectors of our population would appear to suffer most with divorcees scoring 28%, nearly twice the average, and separated 23%.
Separated people are twice more likely to lose weight because of debt worries whilst, ironically, divorced people are twice more likely to put on weight.
Perhaps the most revealing stat is that 23% of separated and 17% of divorcees say that their debt has caused them to be medically depressed, nearly three times and twice more, respectively, than the average of 8% – itself still a significantly high figure.
It is likely that the separated and divorced stats are biased towards females as that sector, too, scores higher than average in terms of debt worry, adverse health impact and depression.
Singles seem to suffer more than married people. 10% of single people claim that debt has affected their performance at work, twice as many as married people, and 50% more than the average of 7%.
They also score highly in terms of debt adversely affecting their relationship with their family and their friends. The group who scores highest in terms of debt adversely affecting their relationship with their partner is the Living as married sector, 21% of whom feel this is the case, compared to an average of only 8%.
Not surprisingly this group also suffers worst in the debt detrimentally affecting their sex lives stakes, with 12% having sex problems, compared to a national average of 9%.
Regionally, Scotland seems to have the roughest deal, debt-wise. The region scores highest in terms of being worried about their level of debt’, adverse health impact, and being medically depressed.
Londoners suffer most in terms of debt adversely affecting their relationship with their partner and are the most secretive, 10% keeping their debt hidden from their partner, compared to an average of 8%.
James Falla, director of Thomas Charles, says: This research has really allowed us to get under the skin of people with high levels of unsecured debts and find out how they tick and what really concerns them.
“It demonstrates not only the scale of the debt problem after all eight million people now have unsecured debts of 10,000 and over but also the negative impact on their lives in terms of health and relationships.”
“At Thomas Charles it is a key part of our philosophy to treat each customer as an individual rather than a financial case and nearly always that means getting involved with the emotional fall-out of insolvency. Our advisers are trained to provide emotional support as well as objectively collecting and presenting all the relevant financial information.’
“Very often these people are at the end of their tether. They feel alienated, frustrated and ashamed and have no place left to turn. A friendly voice, a sympathetic ear and some constructive advice can go a long way to helping them believe that there is truly light at the end of the tunnel.