Anne-Marie Moody earns more than £35,000 a year as an accountant, owns her own home and doesn’t splash out on luxury holidays or designer clothes.
On paper, you’d expect the 44-year-old to have a firm grasp on her finances. You certainly wouldn’t think she could be sitting on a mountain of debt.
Yet, over the past decade, she has built up £30,000 on more than 12 credit cards.
Every time she hit one card’s spending limit, she took out another. And because she only made the minimum repayments each month, the debt just grew and grew.
Anne-Marie was coasting along until 18 months ago, when she wanted to move to a bigger home and found her credit file said her rating was ‘poor’. That meant her dream move was off the cards.
‘I realised I was paying £700 a month in minimum payments on my cards, but £600 of that was interest,’ she says.
‘If all the banks had turned around and asked for their money back, I would have been in serious trouble.’
Britain is on the brink of a debt crisis — and stories such as Anne-Marie’s are the tip of the iceberg.
Debt charities say swathes of the country are living on the never-never, where one false move could plunge them into ruin.
And it isn’t just poorer households who are at risk. Charities say doctors, teachers and finance workers are among those deep in the red, having had cheap credit thrown at them for years by the banks.
The debt charity StepChange says most of the people who approach it for help are employed. Some have senior roles, while one in five own their own home.
In total, families are sitting on £198 billion of unsecured debts on credit cards, car finance and overdrafts, Bank of England figures show. That’s the highest level since 2008, the year the banks collapsed.View all Posts