The real cost of credit

I WAS staggered to learn from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Stevenage that an average individual s debt is �15,000. Only a generation ago there was a hefty social stigma attached to borrowing money. People lived within their means. If they wanted so

I WAS staggered to learn from the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in Stevenage that an average individual's debt is �15,000.

Only a generation ago there was a hefty social stigma attached to borrowing money. People lived within their means. If they wanted something, they saved until they could afford to buy it and then they paid for it in cold, hard cash.

Today, if people see something they want they pull out the plastic.

But deep down we knew it couldn't carry on - people merrily racking up thousands of pounds worth of debt on their credit cards and thinking nothing of it.


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The credit crunch is destined to have an almighty effect on this debt-ridden country, and the wise words of a generation ago, about not living on the never-never, will be ringing in our ears.

The CAB has said the number of people seeking advice, mostly about redundancy and debt, has easily doubled in recent months. At least when people are in employment their financial situations can be managed. With people being made redundant right, left and centre, their debts are becoming huge concerns they are struggling to cope with.

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And the consequences, which were never considered when buying that new plasma TV or paying for that holiday abroad, are likely to be far-reaching and catastrophic. For instance, I bet relationship break-ups will hit an all-time high this year, as the stresses and strains take their toll.

But will we learn from our mistakes? I doubt it. When credit is so readily available, it's all too tempting to make use of it, and lessons learned are all too easily forgotten.

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