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To think that paying off a significant debt should be a priority?

(42 Posts)
mameulah Thu 01-Aug-13 15:37:50

How do I persuade a close family member to pay off a significant debt?

They always have good reasons why it is not top priority at the moment. Can anyone help me find a simple, and persuasive way, of --scaring the crap out of them--getting them to get rid of their debt/


Turniptwirl Thu 01-Aug-13 17:34:19

I speak as someone currently paying off about £8000 of credit card, overdraft and payday loans debts.

I stuck my head in the sand until it all got tooth and then sorted it out on my own via a debt management company.

I'm not stupid. I knew exactly why I shouldn't be doing what I did with money. I can tell you exactly why pay day loans are evil and could have before I took them out too. But I still did it

Debt is like anything else, you can't force someone to help themselves. As long as they don't owe you money leave them to it

Beastofburden Thu 01-Aug-13 17:40:05

It is a useful and kind thing to help someone see clearly the consequences of what they are doing, if they have asked for advice, which the OP says they have.

OP, I would help them make an assessment for themselves. In ten years time, what are their objectives? Do they include owning a home, having a family, travel? What will their financial situation look like, with and without the debt? Take into account, the ability to have a mortgage if they are already in debt, and the effect on their disposable income over the next ten years if they let it run (how much interest they will pay).

It sounds as if you want to empower them but give them a wake up call. Nothing wrong with that, people who are helped to get out of chronic debt often say they wish someone had done it before. You could show them the pages on citizens advice bureau website dealing with problem debt, and ask how they would feel if that, slowly, imperceptibly, becomes them.

mameulah Thu 01-Aug-13 17:47:34


Thank you. That is very helpful.

Tee2072 Thu 01-Aug-13 17:49:20

Yes, what Hec said. If they want your help, surely they'll ask for it?

Perhaps they are just too nice to say "fuck off and mind your own"?

kim147 Thu 01-Aug-13 17:55:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

flowery Thu 01-Aug-13 17:57:16

"It is a useful and kind thing to help someone see clearly the consequences of what they are doing, if they have asked for advice, which the OP says they have."

I don't think it does sound like this person has asked for advice tbh. Otherwise the OP wouldn't be asking for emotional pressure techniques.

Mind you, I can't imagine a scenario where I was so involved in anyone's life as to even know what debt they are in tbh, other than my DH.

Beastofburden Thu 01-Aug-13 22:29:17

Not in her first post, but in her later replies, I think that is what she is saying.

IneedAsockamnesty Thu 01-Aug-13 23:56:47

I don't think you are correct unless the debt would be classed as a priority debt.

Priority debts (an official term) are ones that could make you homeless leave you with cut off essential utilities,council tax,court fines, child maintainance,income tax and tv licence.

Those are urgent.

Then comes essential daily living costs and priority charges ( to prevent further priority debt)

After that comes other types of debt.

builttolast Fri 02-Aug-13 00:13:38

Absolutely sockreturningpixie. I made the mistake of prioritising my debts far too heavily to the extent that my quality of life was unacceptable, then when I got advice I found that it's very hard to take effective action if unsecured, non-priority debts like credit cards aren't paid, so I stopped paying so I could have my life back again. Good to clear them if you can of course, but not if it means going without.

kaosak Fri 02-Aug-13 00:27:18

Where does credit card debt stand in the list of priorities? I mean you could spend the rest of your life paying back the minimum and never actually pay any of it back? Is there a limit to the amount of time you would have in theory? Obviously with interest only mortgages there is a D day as you only have the life of the mortgage in which to pay it back.

Musing over this.

Beastofburden Fri 02-Aug-13 00:44:03

Kaosak, not sure what happens when you die, but I think that the executors have to pay the debts of the estate before they can give the money to the people you leave it to. So you would owe a shed load of interest and it would all come off the value of our home, before your kids got any money. I think.

Mimishimi Fri 02-Aug-13 01:19:58

Only if I was asked for money or it was me to whom the debt was owed ... Otherwise I would not interfere.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 02-Aug-13 01:46:35


It would very much depend on your financial situation.if you can pay it off by not losing out on essentials then it should be quite high.

But if we are talking a household with financial problems with a choice between priority debts and eating or priority debts and credit card debt and not eating then they come pretty low down the list.

grumpyoldbat Fri 02-Aug-13 08:58:23

It depends what they are prioritising. If they are prioritising things like rent and CT then they are avoiding more problems for the future.

If the are prioritising things like going out, holidays and other treats then they are not being very sensible IMO.

mameulah Fri 02-Aug-13 09:27:03

Thanks everyone. I know the practical ideas to show the reality of the situation will really help.

Khaleasy Fri 02-Aug-13 14:05:50

I don't think it is reasonable at all to ask somebody how to "scare the crap" out of someone or how to "apply emotional pressure".

a) it doesn't sound like the debt-person wants the OPs advice, as others have said - why would you need to apply emotional pressure in this case?

and b) if they do want advice, then its a pretty nasty approach to attempt to harass them and "scare the crap" out of them when they have sought your help.

EBearhug Sun 04-Aug-13 18:18:08

I'm with grumpyoldbat, as I was brought up that a roof over your head was your main priority. Debt is not always avoidable, but paying it back it is a priority below things like rent and utility bills, but above things like holidays, new clothes and nights out.

However, I've met people who just don't seem to get that at all, and I'm not sure how you persuade them, because it's just such a different mindset from what I was brought up with.

(So that's a helpful post then. Or not. smile)

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