Half of debt clients wish they had sought advice sooner, CAS finds

More than half (51%) of people who sought debt advice from a Citizens Advice Bureau wish they had done so sooner, new data published by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) has revealed.

For all clients, four in ten people wish they had sought advice sooner.

CAS is publishing the data as it launches its ‘Money Advice Matters’ campaign, encouraging people to not delay and seek advice about financial worries, particularly as support schemes implemented during the pandemic are set to ease off before ending, such as furlough.

The research also shows that 17% of clients surveyed believe they will need advice on debt in the future.

The charity is encouraging people to not let debt and money worries build up by sticking their head in the sand about problems, with anonymous feedback from clients including;

“I was a nightmare, sticking my head in the sand about the money I owed and feeling so embarrassed about it. They were very understanding and I was relieved big time.”

“Completely relevant to my issues. I had my head in the sand before, but he laid it all out for me and I have most of my debts settled now, some written off and some I have been paying in small amounts.”

Myles Fitt, CAS financial health spokesperson, added: “It’s really understandable that people struggling with bills, debt and money may avoid facing up to it and instead seek to put it off, but our message to people is that money advice matters, so don’t delay and seek advice.

“Half of our debt clients wish they had sought advice sooner. With various financial support schemes introduced during the pandemic set to expire, now is the time to seek advice particularly those struggling with their finances due to the economic effects of the pandemic.

“People can get advice from the Citizens Advice network in a variety of ways to best suit their needs. Our online advice site and Money Map tool both provide extremely information including ways to boost incomes and cut costs and are very useful for people who can self-help. But for people in more complex or precarious situations their local CAB can help.

“CAB advisers offer advice on paying bills, dealing with arrears and tackling debt, but they are also a friendly voice. A problem shared with one of our money advisers is a problem halved and this alone will start to relieve some of the pressure before taking the practical steps to get your finances back on track.”

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