Debt is a major issue for many older people. This may be because of helping children and grandchildren financially, divorce or separation, or simply the rising cost of living, particularly in terms of food and energy costs.
For many people debt can be a cause of, or add to, terrible feelings of anxiety and depression, ill health and family breakdown as people feel trapped, and can affect lives very badly.
If you are in debt it’s very important not to ignore it. If you leave it, it will get worse. But you can get help – there is a lot of free support available both locally and further afield. With the right help you will be able to look at the following issues:
- Which are the most important debts to pay (priority debts)
- Whether you have any ‘debts’ that you shouldn’t be paying at all. (Perhaps you were pressurised into signing a loan agreement).
- What could you afford to pay? (People you owe money to may have to accept a lot less than they are demanding).
- How to make the most of any savings you have.
- Whether you can raise money in any other way.
You don’t have to tackle debt alone – you can get help. Talk to Caring Together – we can help you look at your income and benefits etc to help make sure you are getting all the money you are entitled to, or refer you for further benefits advice if needed. We can also help you look at your outgoings and advise you, or refer you to the WYTS Safer project advisor, who has helped a number of our members.
Joining a credit union is a good way of saving and borrowing money without running up massive debts – Leeds Credit Union 0113 242 3343
Other help and advice:
National Debtline 0808 808 4000
StepChange Debt Charity 0800 138 1111
Money Advice Service 0300 500 5000
Debt Advice Foundation 0800 043 4050
Leeds CAB 0844 477 4788