Sex and Debt Advice

Recent statistics have shown that the number of men who are currently seeking debt advice has increased by over 50%. So, does this point to better money management amongst the fairer sex? Have men been hit hardest by the credit crunch?

The number of men seeking debt help has undergone a marked increase over the last three years. A credit counselling charity has seen a huge jump in the number of men who are making use of its debt helpline. Conventionally, it is women who are far more open to seeking debt help and discussing their financial worries. This could be the result of some outdated sense of machismo amongst men, who see asking for help as a weakness. However, there has obviously been a change in attitude that makes it easier for men to ask for debt help.

Initial predictions seemed to show that the hardest hit demographic would be middle class females but it’s seems as though working class men are actually finding it the most difficult. It’s especially interesting as this is traditionally the group who find it most difficult to vocalise their concerns and ask for help. In most cases, the man of the house is still the primary bread winner but unemployment and rising costs have put him under increasing pressure. The sexes differ in terms of their attitude to part-time work too. Men tend to be unwilling or unable to take on part-time work when they do lose their jobs.

There are a greater number of women employed in the public sector in the UK, which has, thus far, largely been sheltered from substantial lay-offs. However, as substantial public sector spending cuts begin to take hold, it will be interesting to see whether this redresses the balance between the sexes and debt. This suggests that the primary cause of these debt problems is loss of earnings. In our experience of providing debt solutions, Harrington Brooks know that it’s more often an unforeseen change in financial circumstances that leads to debt, rather than any irresponsible attitude to spending. This is serving to combat the stigma surrounding debt advice and helping men feel more comfortable coming forward, facing up to their debt and getting the help that they need.

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service said that in 2009, half of those men that came forward to ask for debt help gave unemployment or reduced income as the cause of their debt problem; only about a sixth of women who sought advice gave unemployment as the cause of their debt problem. This highlights a distinct difference in debt between the sexes but as to whether this will find a balance throughout a prolonged recovery is yet to be seen.