As the credit crunch reaches the end of its first year, debt management company Gregory Pennington (http://www.gregorypennington.co.uk) have advised people to keep on top of their finances, and warned that there may still be tough times ahead.
A spokesperson for Gregory Pennington said: “While studies suggest some of the country feel they have not yet been affected too badly by the credit crunch, these people may begin to feel the effects as future events unfold.”
A recent survey in The Times revealed that 66% of those asked felt their family would fare badly over the next year, while 77% felt the country as a whole will suffer. The spokesperson said that while these views are probably justified, there is still a lot people can do to lessen the effects of the credit crunch.
“The most important thing is staying on top of your finances,” says the debt solutions company. “Make sure you are meeting all your priority financial commitments before anything else, and try to build a budget around that. If you find you can’t meet those commitments, seek expert advice as soon as possible.
“We would also advise people to save as much as possible, because that little bit extra could come in very useful if things get tight.”
The fact that the remaining 34% of people questioned in the survey did not feel (or weren’t sure) that their family would suffer over the next year suggests that the credit crunch has not necessarily affected everyone. But the Gregory Pennington spokesperson warned that other problems linked to the credit crunch may start to kick in over the next few months.
“It’s important to distinguish between the different elements of the economic downturn we’re currently experiencing,” he said. “The credit crunch primarily affects people looking for credit – particularly homeowners, who may be faced with large arrangement fees or higher payments when they remortgage, and also those looking to obtain loans and new mortgages.
“People who aren’t reliant on credit, or homeowners who have a long-term fixed rate on their mortgage, may well have been largely unaffected – so far.
“But it’s now very possible that we will see the knock-on effects of the weak housing market combined with rising costs of living – higher unemployment, increasing amounts of people struggling to meet their comments, and more people facing problems with debt.
“Even if it does get to that stage, there are still things you can do. Seeking professional debt advice from an expert debt adviser is essential if you find yourself in financial difficulty.
“There are a range of debt solutions available to meet different situations, including debt management plans, IVAs (Individual Voluntary Arrangements), debt consolidation loans and remortgages, etc. One of these could be a lifeline if you find yourself with unmanageable debt, which is a growing threat in the current economic climate.”