Hidden Debt: Seven in ten people don’t discuss their debt with anyone

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of uncertainty for our lifestyles, jobs, and finances. Because of this, it’s never been more important for people to speak up if they are feeling under financial pressure, yet new research has found that seven in 10 Brits (69%) who are in debt choose not to discuss it with anyone.

The research, from debt management company Lowell, found that talking about debt still holds a stigma for many people. Embarrassment was the primary reason people would not talk about debt (53%), followed by ‘feeling like a burden’ (40%).

This means that Brits are now hiding a massive £8.5 billion worth of debt from their friends and family, with around 21 million hidden credit cards, loans, and overdrafts1.        

Why don’t people talk about debt?

When discussing hidden debt with people currently in debt, Lowell discovered the key reasons people keep silent about their financial situation are:

Reason Percentage of respondents who feel this way
I would be embarrassed 53%
I don’t want to burden anyone else 40%
I don’t believe family/friends need to know about my debt 38%
I don’t want people to think badly of me 33%
I don’t think it would help 25%
I don’t have anyone to talk to 10%
It always leads to an argument 9%
I believe bringing up money is rude 4%

The importance of talking about debt

The survey also asked people who had spoken about their debt how they felt after opening up. An enormous 82% of people felt better after speaking about debt, showing the importance of being open and honest with the people you care about, or experts who can help you with solutions to best manage your situation.

Debt Awareness Week

Lowell is now supporting Debt Awareness Week, an annual campaign ran by debt charity StepChange to help people talk more openly about debt-related issues. This year, it’s running from the 22nd to the 28th of March.

The Hidden Debt research highlights the importance of smashing the stigma around debt, so Lowell is supporting Debt Awareness Week by encouraging everyone who is feeling unease, pressure, or stress concerning their finances to talk about how they are feeling.

John Pears, Managing Director of Lowell, said: “Over the last 12 months, many people have found themselves struggling financially, and some may be in debt for the first time. Therefore, Debt Awareness Week is even more important than ever this year.

“We want to highlight the importance of talking about debt. Our research shows some shocking stats – the fact that 69% of people are not talking about their situation shows there is still a real stigma attached to debt, yet speaking to someone could really help individuals who are struggling There’s no need to feel embarrassed, and having an initial discussion with a friend, family member or expert is the first step to feeling financially stable.”

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs, from StepChange, also comments:

“Debt can be tough to bring up, especially with those closest to you. Thousands are dealing with their debt alone, and have no one to talk to about it, which can make it an even bigger burden to carry.

“The last year has been particularly tough on people’s finances, so it’s never been more important to open up and talk about debt. This Debt Awareness Week, we want to do as much as we can to destigmatise debt, get people talking about the issue, particularly those who may be in need of debt advice for the first time. We want to encourage people to take the #TheFirstStep towards getting debt advice.”

 A number of free and independent services you can contact to help can be seen at:


About Lisa Baker, Editor 2423 Articles
Lisa Baker is the Editor of Always Finance, and writes about Business, Finance Technology and Healthcare. Lisa is also the owner of Need to See IT Publishing.