Talk Money Week has just finished in the UK – an event which aims to get the country talking about its financial situation. There are a variety of reasons for this but one of them is that – according to research published on National Debt Service – around half of UK adults believe chatting about debt is a taboo topic, more so than discussing religion, politics, or sex.

This is an interesting claim and one which is further backed up by a University College London study. Following a poll of 15,000 individuals, it was revealed that people are seven times more likely to chat to someone about whether they’ve had an affair – or contracted an STD – than openly discuss their salary.

This research demonstrates some unusual – and worrying – conclusions. However, aside from showing that we’re more likely to discuss sexually transmitted diseases over debt, it does show the lengths we will go to so we may avoid discussing our finances.

Why don’t we discuss money?

There’s a common misconception that those in debt have only themselves to blame. Frequent accusations levelled upon these people cover ‘living beyond their means’, enjoying a lavish lifestyle, or having poor spending control.
Generally though, this is not the case as a variety of reasons can all contribute to debt. This may include a job loss, sickness, death in the family, or partner separation. With high average debt levels across the country, debt is certainly a common problem. However, because of our reluctance to discuss it, and the perceived shame, people in this situation typically suffer in silence.
As a result, this usually makes the problem even worse.

We need to be more open about money

Research from debt charity Stepchange demonstrates the lengths we will go to before discussing our finances. According to the organisation, around 50% of the people the organisation helps wait at least a year before deciding to act on their debts.
From just a personal level, this can cause anxiety, feelings of isolation, and poor mental health. From a wider level, this may result in the debt increasing and legal action – such as bailiff intervention.
Although it is very understandable why debt is a touchy subject, ignoring the matter doesn’t do anyone any favours. We would advise talking about it with someone close, such as a family member or loved one, to at least share the topic and make it easier to bear.
At the least, these people could offer support, advice, and reassurance. Potentially though, they might also be struggling with their debt issues. Having someone to talk to can share the problem and make it much easier to deal with.
Alternatively, there are multiple organisations out there geared towards helping people with their debts. From charities to commercial organisations, these groups usually offer free initial advice aimed towards getting finances back on track.

It’s time to ‘talk money’

The mere fact that the UK needs a dedicated week to encourage conversations about debt shows we aren’t doing enough to tackle the issue. Simply put, the more open you are on this matter, the better your life – and your financial situation – should be.
Just remember that – if you are struggling with finances – there are millions of people out there just like you feeling the same way. Even sharing the matter with just one person can help alleviate the burden.

Author's Bio: 

The National Debt Service is a specialist debt solutions organisation primarily specialising in IVAs. It strives to normalise conversations around debt.