Consumers should be More Educated When it Comes to Borrowing

By: Paul McIndoe

The government needs to do more to ensure that people in the UK are aware of the risks associated with taking on considerable amounts of debt, it has been claimed. According to Chris Tapp, deputy director for national money education charity Credit Action, young people in the UK often get themselves into trouble when they leave university because they've been "educated into debt but not about debt".

Figures released by push.co.uk show that the average student takes on ?4,074 in debt every year, while the National Union of Students (NUS) predicts that most students will leave university in 2010 with debt levels in the region of ?33,708 as living and tuition fees escalate.

This means that many graduates will resort to borrowing on credit cards and taking out bank loans, and while Mr Tapp has in no way suggested that this practise should be avoided outright, he urged consumers to adopt a cautious approach when it comes to borrowing - and suggested that education was the best way of achieving this shift in outlook.

Indeed, he championed the merits of education over the passing of legislation to make sure that people take out loans only when they are in a position to repay them in the agreed timeframe.

"I think what we need really is people to be better educated when it comes to borrowing - better educated when it comes to managing their money - and so people understand the risks they're taking on, to not simply borrow because they're able to," Mr Tapp said.

"I think actually if people were better educated as to the risks and people were able to manage their money more carefully than they do now then that would go a long way to helping people stay more in control, and I think that would be more effective than further regulation."

Mr Tapp believes that the government should provide more financial education in schools and universities in particular, as part of its drive to ensure the finances of people in the UK are managed well, that debt is avoided and that those who do require a uk personal loan only apply to take one out if repayments can be met.

However, he believes the onus does not fall solely on the government.

"I think lenders should be doing more to educate people as to the risks they're taking on when they take on one of their products," he opined.

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