Debt a significant cause of stress
There are major emotional ramifications for Australians when a ‘love affair’ with debt turns sour. More than 80 per cent of respondents to an Australian survey said their high level of debt was a significant cause of stress.
Financial woes were also a major cause of relationship breakdown and depression, according to the study which took in 70 people with serious debt problems who had turned to professional help.
‘Debt doesn’t just affect the hip pocket,’ said Craig Francis, a director of the company Debt Rescue which commissioned the study.
‘The stress caused by debt has a knock-on effect that impacts on life at work, at home and with friends.’
While 83 per cent said their debt had caused stress, more survey participants – 86 per cent – said it was important to address the psychological as well as financial implications of high debt.
Two in three respondents (63 per cent) said their debt levels made them feel depressed, while the same proportion reported high levels of anxiety.
Well over half (59 per cent) of respondents said their indebtedness had led to relationship problems.
A quarter said it had caused conflict with a spouse or partner, and 15 per cent said the problem extended to their broader family.
Ten per cent said debt had damaged relationships with friends, and seven per cent said it had affected their standing with work colleagues.
‘We’ve known for many years about the extent and prevalence of debt problems,’ Mr Francis said.
‘Now we are learning more about the emotional impact in terms of mental health, anxiety, depression and relationship breakdowns.’
The report – ‘Debt, Stress and You: The emotional and personal impact of Australia’s love affair with debt’ – will be launched officially on Tuesday.
Debt Rescue is a franchise which offers debt consolidation and other advice for a fee.