The number of household debt in the UK is sky high – and you would never know! Discover why Brits are so secretive about debt – and tips to overcome it and get the right help.


In this article about hidden household debt you’ll read:


  • The UK’s hidden debts
  • The psychology behind Why people keep their debts a secret
  • The effects of secret debts
  • How to handle debt problems with family and friends
  • Conclusion

In this article, Payday Loans Net looks at the issue of secret debt. We examine the latest research into the UK’s secret debt mountain and the shocking statistics. Here you’ll read the possible reasons why people with debts try to hide it and what effects it can have. Finally, if you are struggling with crippling debt, you’ll get advice so you can find a way out and get your finances back on track and avoid payday loans with no credit check.

The Hidden UK Household Debt

Recent research by GoCompare Money found that there’s an estimated £13 billion worth of secret debt in the UK. Their survey discovered that 40% of UK adults have an average personal debt (excluding mortgages) of £6,131. 1 in 10 of those questioned was hiding the extent of their debts from family, partners and friends. Of this number, 65% had been keeping their debts a secret for a year or more.



Why do People Keep their Debts a Secret?

There are many reasons why people hide their debts but it’s usually because of the following reasons or a combination of them all.

  • Admitting the Problem to Themselves
  • One of the reasons why people don’t confide in others close to them is that they first have to admit the problem to themselves. They adopt an ostrich-in-the-sand approach. They ignore the warning letters from creditors and hope the problem will go away on its own. Or they think one more loan and they’ll be able to get their financial affairs in order. Of course, it never quite works out that way. Until they come clean and admit they have a problem, they won’t tell anyone else.


    Debt advisory services and debt charities see this attitude again and again. They all agree that people are very reluctant to ask for help. However, the longer they leave it, the more difficult it is to put an affordable repayment plan in place.

  • Feelings of Shame & Embarrassment
  • Often, people who owe money feel deep feelings of shame about the mess that their finances have got into. They don’t want to tell anyone else because they don’t want to be judged or pitied. They don’t want their loved ones to change the image they have of them either. There’s even a fear that they’ll stop liking them or the worry that partners will break up with them. This is especially true in relationships where partners have different attitudes to spending.

  • Protecting their Loved Ones

  • Some people – especially the household’s primary breadwinner – often don’t let on about debts to protect their loved ones. They feel that letting their family know about their debts would place an unfair burden on them. They aren’t hiding debts to be deceitful but to protect them. Learn how to spot the signs of people suffering from debt.

  • The Money Taboo
  • British people in general find it very difficult to talk about money. Close friends might not even know each other’s salary and would find it difficult even to ask. How much worse is it then when the conversation is about debt?


    This is made even worse when people have taken out payday loans. There is a common perception that payday loans are the cause of more debt, and sharing payday loan debt could be very embarrasing. The truth is that anyone can use short term loans responsibly and not fall into a spiral of debt, as long as they don’t become a long term solution to fund regular expenses.

The Effects of Secret Debts

There’s no doubt that worrying about money and debts puts people under a great deal of emotional and physical strain. This is made worse if they carry it all inside and don’t confide in anyone.

In research carried out by MoneySuperMarket, they found that money worries were people’s main cause of stress. This can manifest itself in panic, upset, disappointment and feeling overwhelmed. 58% of people in their survey said that this stress has effects on other parts of their lives including their family and personal relationships and their work performance. They reported various physical symptoms such as tiredness, insomnia, irritability and mood swings, headaches and increased dependence on alcohol.

How to Handle Debt Problems with Family & Friends

If you have secret debts, it’s time to come clean. Firstly, to yourself and then to the most important people in your life. Everyone’s heard the maxim ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved’. Family and friends might not be able to help you practically by lending you the money to pay off your debts but they can give practical advice. This could be ways to cut your monthly expenditure, some guidelines on budgeting or give you the moral support when you visit a debt advisory service.




If your loved ones are on your side, they’ll be able to support you so you can meet your financial commitments. Partners won’t expect to go an expensive holiday abroad and friends won’t encourage you to go on costly nights out on the town or day-long shopping expeditions. Your situation won’t be made worse by your desire to keep up appearances.

Secret Household Debt – Conclusion

If you have secret debts, this is a burden you’ve been carrying alone too long. You might think you’ve been protecting your loved ones but haven’t they felt the impact of your mood swings or irritability? It’s time to put down the load and share it with others. They might be shocked by your hiding the debts from bad credit loans, but they’ll also be eager for you to get your finances in order. You must realise that everyone makes mistakes. However, the most important thing is to learn from them and move on.



PUBLISHED BY
Chloe Winters
Chloe grew up in the countryside, but came to the city to pursue a career in economics. She fell in love with the abundance of shops, and quickly developed a passion for fashion. After blowing her first salary on a shopping spree, she realised that budgeting is the only way to go. Now, Chloe is a budgeting queen – and still manages to dress like a superstar. She loves sharing the advice and tips she gained along the way, and is excited to be part of the Payday Loans Net blogging team. Her advice to you: If I can do it, anyone can!

The article "Why Household Debt is Such a Big Secret" was last modified on