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Single men more likely to get into debt than women.

Byline: Nicky Burridge

SINGLE men are more likely to build up higher levels of debt than single women, figures show today.

The Consumer Credit Counselling Service said men aged between 25 and 39 who asked for help typically had around pounds 14,910 of unsecured debt, compared with women's pounds 11,416.

When income levels were taken into account men also had higher levels of borrowing, with an average debt to income ratio of 16.32 - meaning they owe more than 16 times their net monthly income.

This compared with a debt to income ratio - also known as a debt stress level - of 13.05 for women and 13.66 for couples.

CCCS, which looked at more than 50,000 people who asked it for help, said men may not have acquired the day to day budgeting skills many women had, particularly as among couples women tended to take responsibility for how much they and their partners spent.

It said this left men particularly vulnerable to getting into debt following a divorce or relationship breakdown, both of which are major trig-gers of debt problems. It added that women also tended to report higher levels of stress and worry about their finances than men, suggesting that men's higher debt could be as a result of them seeking help later and taking longer to realise the gravity of their situation.

Malcolm Hurlston, chairman of CCCS, said, ``The levels of debt stress currently experienced by male CCCS clients are a cause of concern.

``This group are traditionally hard to reach with educational messages and slow to seek help.

``Our findings indicate much more effort must be put into basic financial education for young males.''

During the first three months of 2003 the average debt among people entering into debt management plans, under which interest on debts is frozen in exchange for people paying back a set amount each month, was pounds 24,360 - 5.2% higher than during the first quarter of 2002. At the same time the level of people failing to keep up with repayments under one of the plans fell to 11%, from 13% during the last three months of 2002.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:May 7, 2003
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