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The bedrock of all relationship advice seems to be that ‘communication is key’. However, this can be a difficult ideal to maintain. This is especially true when it comes to talking about personal finances, which is perhaps one of the hardest conversation topics around.
Hiding debt from your partner is not uncommon. Research published through Moneywise found nearly half (44%) of people in the UK are not telling their significant others they’re in debt. This paints a bleak national picture indeed.
The link between struggling with debts and declining wellbeing is extensively researched. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found 46% of all people in debt suffer with mental health issues. This is unsurprising as it’s easy to see how having creditors relentlessly demanding money, which you don’t have, can increase feelings of anxiety and depression.
Suffering this in silence, or going to great lengths to hide it, will undoubtedly make the situation worse. Opening up to your partner about debt allows them to support you. It’s worth asking whether you would want them to be undergoing this alone?
Not only are you helping yourself by being honest, but you’re helping them. For example, your partner may have plans for the future which could be affected by hidden debts. Telling them the reality of your financial situation sooner will allow them to adjust expectations. Frankly, your honesty could allow you to build a better future together.
You may have imagined what your partner’s reaction to the debt would be over and over. Don’t torture yourself with this any longer. Often we build up these scary conversations and they are never as bad as we think.
That being said, as with all important conversations, try and prepare beforehand. We advise telling your partner that you need to have a chat, at a time when you know they have no plans for the rest of the day. Just bringing it up out the blue may add a surprise element which could worsen their reaction.
Before the conversation, you could write down everything you want to tell them. Having a structured plan which covers everything they want to know may help reduce both of your anxieties. They will probably want to know why you got into debt, your creditors, and how much you owe. A proposed template could cover:
Including number four on the template could help to reduce potential shock or anger from your partner. Presenting them with a plan of ‘what you will do about it’ shows evidence that you are putting in effort to sort out your finances.
There are a range of plans for varying degrees of debt. For example, if you owe more than £5,000 an IVA could freeze interest rates and charges. This may lead to you writing off considerable amounts. Debt Management Plans are suited for smaller sums and often a great solution to tackling mounting non-priority debts.
Telling your partner you have potential solutions could have a significantly calming effect. This is where we can help. Get in touch today and we will do all the hard work to identify your most suitable solution.
Debt write off applies to unsecured debts and on completion of an IVA. A debt write off amount of between 20% and 80% is realistic, however the debt write off amount for each customer differs depending upon their individual financial circumstances and is subject to the approval of their creditors.
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Free money help and advice can be found at the MoneyAdviceService.org.uk