Recently Debt Fix conducted a Debt Survey which revealed some extremely interesting results about how people feel about their finances and their debt.

The majority of the people surveyed were women aged between 20 and 40 earning incomes under $50k per annum. More than half the respondents were paying off a mortgage and more than half of the people surveyed owed more than $80k in debt, including credit cards, personal loans, car loans and money owing to friends and family.

The survey dug deeper to reveal peoples various attitudes towards debt and spending, uncovering the drivers underpinning the various decisions people make.

For instance, it was interesting to note that (of the people surveyed) nearly 50% of people cited ”convenience” as the primary driver for actions or decisions when it comes to credit. In other words, it appears that people are motivated to spend (or accrue debt) if there is a perception that things will become easier by virtue of such spending.

This noting is not unfamiliar to marketeers who have been calling upon the ”ease” motivator for decades. It all too common to hear the catch phrase ”in just 3 easy steps” or ”it’s easy” or ”just 3 easy payments” when it comes to advertises promoting their products. When it comes to financial products, debt consolidation is heavily marketed as an ”easier way” to manage debts, promoting its popularity as an effective way to better manage debt.

In contrast, almost the same percentage of respondents agreed that they are genuinely concerned about the security of their financial future. Supporting these concerns, more than 70% of respondents felt that their financial security today is ”fair” or ”poor” and only half of all those who completed the survey set aside money for the future.

Added, the respondents advised they are worse off today financially than they were five years ago perhaps reflecting the broader conditions impacting the real economy.

With the reduced confidence surrounding the respondents and their finances today, one would expect to see an increased focus on budgeting; however this was not the case. A staggering 41.5% of those surveyed did not prepare a monthly budget.

The next part of the survey looked at the debt collection practices of creditors. The survey revealed that 70% of all respondents had (at some stage) been contacted by a professional debt collector. Of this group, the overwhelming majority found the debt collectors to be rude and threatening, irritating and uncaring or forceful and intimidating. Only 12% of respondents thought the debt collectors were helpful and understanding. Clearly, the debt collectors do not believe in the adage ”you catch more flies with honey” and perhaps there remain some remnants from those bad old days when debt collectors were unregulated.

Supporting this hypothesis is the evidence collected citing 20% of debtors who had been contacted by professional debt collectors were contacted more than 3 times in a week — a clear breach of the ACCC/ASIC guideline.

Grant O’Donnell, CEO of Debt Fix says ”…the result delivered some interesting conclusions and insights in the way people view their personal finances and attitude towards debt management...”

He went on to say, ”…With changes to the way Credit reputations are reported, it appears at first glance that some attitudes towards debt and personal finance will need to be overhauled — it’s a pity that there hasn’t been much information circulated about these changes (by government and regulators) in the same way as there was with the demise of the analogue television signal. This survey revealed a need for increased financial literacy and education as much as anything else….”

With the new credit reporting regime upon us, Grant O’Donnell commented ”… the issue we have at Debt Fix is about how debtor’s currently approach debt management and their present day awareness of new credit scoring…”