The COVID-19 pandemic has left many people worrying about their financial futures. MABS is encouraging people to seek help sooner rather than later.

MABS urges those concerned about their finances to seek help

The results of a recent online survey conducted by Opinions Market Research in June 2020 on behalf of MABS suggests that almost one million people are concerned about their future debt. The level of concern for those who are in debt regarding their future debt distress is rising and is being felt, particularly, in the 35- 54 year olds living in Dublin, the commuter belt and other urban/suburban locations. This concern is likely to increase further with the end of mortgage payment breaks.

This research was conducted by Opinions in June 2020 among a sample group of 1,007 adults in the Republic of Ireland that are concerned with current or future debt (corresponding to 34% or 1,256,000 of the adult population).

Almost 8 in 10 (78%) of this cohort report their household financial circumstances have been impacted negatively as a result of Covid-19 (almost 1 million adults).

Despite the very real negative financial impacts experienced, less than half of those impacted (48%) have taken action as a result, and of those worryingly 21% have sought assistance from a friend/family member, 11% have borrowed from a financial institution and 6% have taken money from a moneylender. Just 11% of those that have taken action have contacted a debt resolution or support agency to date.

MABS is acutely aware of the stress that debt brings to both individuals and their households. The research bears this out:

·71% of those that have experienced a negative financial impact feel debt puts a strain on their personal relationships (over 900,000 adults).

·64% of this group are reluctant to talk to anyone about problem debt

·61% often have sleepless nights worrying about debt.

MABS helpline, messenger service and local services are dealing with clients who have a range of concerns from utility bills and credit card debt to more serious mortgage and rent arrears difficulties. Our key advice to people is to talk directly to your lender. If you find this difficult MABS is here to support you. Don’t allow worries over debt to impact your mental health, we strongly encourage you to contact us sooner rather than later.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS), is funded and supported by the Citizens Information Board.

MABS offices nationally are continuing to offer a full remote service to the public by phone, email, and online chat. Offices will be closed to drop-in and face-to-face appointment during the period of level five restrictions as described by the Government's plan for living with COVID-19. If you need to speak with a MABS adviser, you can call or email your local office. You can also use the live chat facility on their website for your money advice queries.

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