Is “Debt” really such a dirty word?

In a society where more people are now in debt, than those who aren’t – why is there still such stigma and shame attached to the word, “debt”?  In fact, even mentioning the subject in conversation can often present a red blush face as people look on in disgust that such a subject would be discussed so openly.

Considered a closed door subject, even on forums people use disguised user names so identities cannot be revealed and with all this going on, I ask could we not do more good for each other during these tough times if we were a little more honest and upfront with each other.

Hanging ones dirty linens out to dry, has never been a very “British” thing to do, but certain times call for certain measures.  And, once the word is out there, we can start dealing with the more important areas of this issue – why and how people get into debt in the first place and how we can best help each other to get out of it.

My mindset on blogging about this topic was prompted after reading the story of a woman who had to opt into debt in order to ensure her children got the right education.  Having a child with special needs, the lady in question was unable to get financial help from the Government to help fund a place at a school specifically catering for children like hers; and the only option left was for her to send her child to a normal state school – where they would be subject to teaching they would find difficult to understand.  Feeling as if she had no choice, this lady went into debt in order to do what she felt was most important – providing the right education for her child, no matter what the consequences were to herself.

After reading her story, I couldn’t help but question whether it’s right that someone who has paid their taxes and managed their money correctly, (and in this particular case, already been in debt and worked hard to recover from this) should have to “opt in” to debt because life and circumstance offers no other form of relief?

All too often, those many of us refer to as the “more intelligent” gender, are actually those of us who are in charge of finances in the household.  Certainly, statistics have shown that women are the primary decision makers in any family purchasing decision and in essence manage the family budget.

With this in mind, we have to consider the implications and pressures they must then take on, as a habit of nature, by merging what comes with the territory.  The emotional attachment of being a partner, homemaker and mother, with the impartial responsibility of household money management must be a huge burden to bear.

When does role of household banker overtake role of carer?  And can the two be done together?  Does one conflict with the other?  And when or, should we say how, can the two combine?

It’s clear the mother writing this story has done, and correctly so, what is best for her children and the future she hopes to provide for them.  Her heartbreak must have been horrific to be put in the situation where going into debt was not to benefit herself, but as a self sacrifice of her own financial situation in order to ensure a better one for her children.

I ask, can we not, as an industry, or as Government/country, offer something alternative for people in such circumstance?  Should certain cases be considered for unique exceptions to debt?  Have we reached a point in time, when assessing relief to debt should be done case by case?  Surely if our taxes are paying millions and billions to bail out the banks, should we not also be looking at helping ourselves – “the people”?

As more and more people are going into debt, we are doing our best to offer best value advice on how to manage finances and budgets correctly and sensibly, as well as offering debt solutions.  Because of this, I feel it’s important to ask, and discuss, is it right that we let people opt in to debt, not because they can’t manage their finances but because their personal circumstance demands it?  Is debt so black and white, or is it time we had a grey area for review which could provide a certain element of government relief?

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