In fact, according to the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS), the number of people in extreme debt has more than doubled in the year from 2004 to 2005, with 2.7 per cent of the CCCS’ clients owing £100,000 or more.
Over-indebtedness is a rising concern for the over 40s particularly, the demographic where the problem is growing at its fastest rate. The 40-59 years old age group also has the biggest average debt level, at £34,456.
The research has been published in the CCCS’ statistical yearbook, which also reveals that young people are not without their own debt problems.
Those aged 18-24 that were clients of the debt charity were found to have, on average, £15,079 of debt. The number of people in this age group seeking help from the CCCS rose from six per cent at the beginning of the decade to 11 per cent at the end of 2005.
Worryingly, the average amount of money owed by those later in life (those 60 and over) who contacted the CCCS rose to £33,568.
“This will become much more difficult to deal with once the only income is a pension,” said chief executive of debt resolution company ClearDebt, David Mond.
“People in their early 50s need to make plans to deal with their debt if they intend to retire in the black.”