The Debt Counsellors claims in its new study that UK debt stands at £1.25 trillion and a sudden drop in income, such as the loss of overtime or ill health, is a major cause of this problem.
John Porter, a senior counsellor with the Debt Counsellors, said: “Unforeseen or unwanted circumstances can push someone over the brink into serious personal debt.”
Divorce, redundancy, health problems or being a single parent all contributed to people taking on unexpected debt, the report claimed.
It added that such changes can have a “devastating effect” on people and their incomes.
Mr Porter recommended that consumers struggling with their finances take out a debt management plan to ensure that they do not get caught out by future problems.
“We recommend that everyone plans for the future by dealing with their personal debt before it gets out of control because of unforeseen circumstances,” he said.