New research has revealed that Australians have racked up $18.1 billion in credit card or loan debt over Christmas alone – an average of $934 per person.
The research, commissioned by ING, shows that a quarter of the population are ignoring their debt because they don’t want to talk about it.
Aussies are feeling “anxious” (47 per cent) and “embarrassed” (38 per cent) about the subject. And two-thirds (61 per cent) agree they would rather open up about anything else, including relationship troubles (58 per cent) than debt.
One in three respondents (37 per cent) said they were not sure what they could be doing differently to manage debt and are concerned they will never get out of it (38 per cent).
Most didn’t know about the solutions available to them to tackle repayments, with the research revealing that six in 10 Aussies have never considered debt consolidation as an option to get out of debt sooner.
A spokesperson for ING, David Breen, said “the problem with not talking about debt is that options to solve the problem don’t then readily present themselves. For those struggling to manage multiple debt repayments, consolidating debts into one low-interest loan can reduce the stress of multiple repayments and high interest rates.
“A personal loan can be a great way to put all your debt in one place, so you know when, and how much, you’re paying off. January is also ideal timing for structuring solutions that will set up good habits for the year to come.”
The research has also shown that a surprising one-third (35 per cent) of those in debt have not considered cutting back spending as an option to get out of debt and, worryingly, another one in three (33 per cent) admit to turning to gambling or lotteries.
“Stigma related to loans and debt means we’re a nation too embarrassed to discuss our finances,” Mr Breen said.
“The research revealed that it can lead to Australians turning to gambling, rather than looking at options like debt consolidation to help manage repayment of their debts.
“We need to get people talking about their debt and workshopping management options, whether that’s opening up to friends, family or a financial adviser.”
The research also revealed 36 per cent said they were unable to fully enjoy the festive season due to financial worries, while another 30 per cent revealed they had accumulated more debt this holiday period than ever before.
Did you accumulate more debt over the holiday period? Are you ashamed to discuss your financial situation with others?
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