Typically, when we think of Christmas time we think of presents, Christmas trees, Santa, family and that all important slap up meal – turkey, stuffing, pretty much any vegetable you want, those little sausages, stuffing and gallons of gravy! Well not gallons as such, but you get the picture.
However, the festive season also means additional financial burden for a large percentage of households. The nature of the holiday season means that overspending and debt go hand in hand with all the glittering promotions and gimmicky adverts - the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG - http://www.imrg.org) predicts that this year, 24 million UK citizens will spend a total of £5 billion this Christmas – that’s just online, and a 20 fold growth from 2000!
This will no doubt leave a lot of us with a temporary feeling of satisfaction, but the New Year hangover tends to last a little longer as we are very much a nation in debt, and that debt is getting larger. Total personal debt in the UK broke the £1.1 trillion barrier in June 2005 – only 11 months after breaking the £1 trillion barrier (source: http://www.creditaction.org.uk/debtstats.htm).
While managing debt month by month in this period of relatively low interest rate is easy for some, it quickly becomes a nightmare for those who over commit themselves and start defaulting on repayments and consequently both charges and interest soon mount up along with the threat of county court judgements and worse still, the threat of house repossession.
For people who are trying to sell their property during the festive season it can be very hard as there are few buyers in the market at this time of year.
Consider a quick property sale scheme to release equity from your house
One solution could be a company like A Quick Sale (http://www.a-quick-sale.co.uk) – property investors who offer a quick property sale solution. Although you may receive less than the open market value of the property, the turnaround on the service is much quicker than selling your property through an estate agency – you don’t have to wait to find a potential buyer.
This can be an excellent solution for people who are facing eviction or repossession – you can release the equity in your house (within a matter of 5 working days) and even arrange to rent your property back so you don’t have to move out – there’s even a future buy back option where you can agree a set buy back price with the company.
By allowing consumers to free themselves from their debt, particularly during the Christmas period, services such as this can give people options where there were none before. No doubt clearing all your debts can be a huge relief and reduce a great deal of stress – but it also enables you to set up for the future – to regain financial stability before returning to the property ladder at a later date (when you otherwise would have been still paying off debts and no doubt accumulating more interest in the process). Credit Action report that “20% of us are still paying off our Christmas splurges up to six months later, and one in ten is still paying for last Christmas in November 2005” – why be part of those statistics if there are other options you can take?
Managing debt is an important part of modern life that many people fail to prioritise effectively until it’s too late, which is one of the key issues that has resulted in the rapid increase in levels of bankruptcy within the UK. There are lots of independent organisations set up within the UK that can help with debt related issues, most of which don’t charge for their services – these include the Citizens Advice Bureau (www.adviceguide.org.uk) and the National Debtline (www.nationaldebtline.co.uk) – the BBC also has a good list of organisations that can help out with personal debt - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4441882.stm.
Debt problems are a very private issue that people rarely discuss openly with friends and family members – it is this hidden stress that usually creates more issues. If you are having problems with debt you are by no means unique. Problem debt shouldn’t carry the taboo that it does. By discussing ways to manage your debt issues with either friends or family members (who may surprise you with their wisdom) or with professionals skilled in these matters, you can find that the most painful aspect of debt can be lifted – the mental burden of feeling swamped and out of control. From there, it is just a numbers game and over time you can work towards not being part of the statistics anymore.
Peter Scott is a researcher for the internet marketing company Optimiser and a regular contributor to discussions on search engine marketing and directory building. http://www.optimiser.co.uk