Receiving advice from experts about how best to handle a debt situation will usually have a positive impact on a person’s general wellbeing, as well as their financial circumstances.
That’s according to research carried out by the debt help charity StepChange, which has looked closely at how people tend to be getting on 15 months after they’ve received debt advice.
Around three in four people with problem debts whose cases were looked at made at least some progress towards being more financially stable, while one in eight were completely debt free a year or so after they’d first received professional debt advice.
A large majority (around 85 per cent) of people who got help from experts in dealing with their debts were still following some of the recommendations they received 15 months later, the figures suggest.
On average, anyone who received debt advice from experts felt better off mentally 15 months later but people who’ve experienced problem debts still tend to be more stressed out that the average person.
StepChange’s perspective on its own research is that people who find themselves in serious trouble with their creditors need help not just from expert advisors but from other institutions across society as well.
“A joined up approach is needed by government, regulators, public services and financial institutions to help financially vulnerable households reduce their need to borrow and increase their ability to save,” said StepChange’s chief executive Phil Andrew in a statement.
A big problem faced by many people who are aiming to become debt free is that they can make positive progress in terms of how they manage their money but still struggle to set any extra cash aside on a regular basis to build up their financial resilience.
“A year and a quarter after taking advice, the vast majority of our clients are making progress on resolving their debt, and on average are also experiencing an upturn in their wellbeing,” Mr Andrew said.
“That doesn’t mean some clients don’t face profound, ongoing problems - especially if their fundamental problem is a very low income - but debt advice is clearly of demonstrable value to most.”
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