Debt and borrowing overview
If you get into debt because of reduced income and higher outgoings due to cancer, seek help as soon as possible, and don't panic. This information will help you understand the basics of debt management, and provides tools to help you deal with your debts.
Money matters can seem complicated. This section of the website keeps things simple. It provides basic information that can help you manage common debt problems.
It shows you how to deal with your debts by following a clear, step-by-step process:
Step 1: Increase your income
Step 2: Create a financial statement
Step 3: Identify your priority debts (debts that need to be paid first and most urgently)
Step 4: Negotiate with your creditors (people you owe money to)
Don’t worry if your situation is very complicated, or if you need more help understanding what to do. There are many organisations that offer free, expert advice and support for people with debts (see Where to find more information and advice about debt and borrowing). Because they help people deal with their debts every day, the people at these organisations will understand your situation.
Some organisations, such as StepChange Debt Charity, also offer free debt management plans.
Although it may feel like a difficult thing to do, it’s best to tell your creditors that you or the person you care for has been diagnosed with cancer.
Keeping your creditors updated on your circumstances can help them discuss potential problems with you. However, if you have long-standing debt and have not heard from your creditors for a number of years, it may be worth seeking advice prior to contacting them.
In this section of the website you’ll find:
basic information about what steps to take and when
steps to help you work out your financial statement
information to help you identify and prioritise your debts
sample letters that you can send to your creditors
a case study showing how one couple affected by cancer took control of their debts
‘jargon busters’ and a glossary at the back, explaining some of the terms used
a list of support organisations who can help you.
The best way to use the four steps is to work through them from start to finish, as they will help you sort out the most important problems first. Each step leads on to the next, so if you follow the sections in order, it’ll be easier to keep everything clear.