A new report from credit management company Lowell has revealed that debt accumulated from having a child has left 39% of parents feeling socially isolated. The worrying figures come after studies suggest loneliness and isolation are a nationwide issue for parents, with 90% of new mothers reporting feeling lonely after welcoming a new child.
Alarmingly, the effect debt can have on parents is abundantly clear, after 43% revealed their mental well-being had been affected by debt accrued from having children.
With 22% of those surveyed admitting they do not know where to seek financial advice for debt, Lowell aims to minimise the negative stigma of talking openly about finances and putting the financial struggles of new parents at the forefront of the conversation.
How has debt impacted parents on a personal and social level?
For those who find themselves in debt, this can put pressure on their family’s financial situation and their personal health and social anxieties. Almost half (43%) of parents confessed that their debt has significantly affected their well-being.
Social circles can be a big support for those struggling with many pressures in life, especially when it comes to postpartum well-being. However, almost two in five (39%) new parents say their debt has isolated them socially from friends and family, with 36% saying it had caused significant tension within their social circle.
With postpartum depression said to impact around one in 10 new mothers within a year of welcoming a new child, the data is especially concerning and further highlights the need for wider support for new parents experiencing financial struggles.
How are children impacted by debt in the family?
As well as their own personal experiences, parents were also surveyed on the shared experience of their families. Troublingly, 39% of the parents surveyed said they felt they couldn’t give their child the quality of life they wanted, with almost a third (32%) saying they are struggling to find the money to pay for essential items such as food bills.
Many parents have had to secure an extra income stream to alleviate their financial situation, with one in ten (20%) parents reporting taking on a second job to finance their family. Sadly, this has led to over a third (36%) of parents feeling that they can’t spend the time they would like with their child, despite the early years of a child’s life being likely to contain some of their biggest milestones.
Having children is an exciting time, but it is no secret they can be expensive – probably more so now than ever. With rising inflation, planning your family finances has never been so important. For those expecting or planning on having a child, it is important to prioritise paying off your immediate debts to ease the financial and social pressures of being a parent. If you cannot pay significantly, focus on the most important ones.
When figuring out which to prioritise, there are various organisations you can speak to for free debt advice, such as StepChange and National Debtline. For more information about the findings, debt support and resources.
John Pears, UK chief executive officer of Lowell UK, said: “Becoming a new parent should be a joyful milestone in life, but unfortunately, due to financial pressures, many parents can have this joy overshadowed by the detrimental social and mental pressures that debt can bring to themselves and their families.
“As the cost-of-living crisis continues to put increased financial pressures upon families across the UK, we want to ensure that new parents know where to find financial guidance and extra support should they end up in debt.
“Parents having a strong social support system is key, where they can talk openly about their finances and reduce the personal burden of debt. However, for those that don’t feel comfortable seeking support in this manner, financial charities are also there to offer advice in times of need – nobody should have to take on debt alone.
“We want to remind anyone looking for financial support or options in overcoming debt after health issues to visit our blog here.”