Christmas could see increase in NI debt

Solicitors in Belfast and Northern Ireland could be forced to pursue more people for debt in the New Year after financial advisors have claimed that Christmas spending could push consumers into the red.

AWD Chase de Vere predicted that in 2008 solicitors in Belfast and Northern Ireland are likely to see many people unable to manage their debts and advises that consumers should pay off their credit as early as possible to minimise financial damage.

Savings manager at AWD Chase de Vere, Susan Hannums, said: "I think it's no secret that next year's going to be a tough year financially for a lot of people. It's going to be a bit of a shock I think, for some people, [whose] fixed rate mortgages [are] coming to an end.

"And, obviously, it's no secret that everything else around just seems to be going up – gas, electric, the whole shebang.

"So I think it is going to be harder to save, but the thing we need to drum in more than anything else is that we've got to start paying off and get away from using credit all the time. I think that's really what got us here in the first place so we need to think of other methods and hopefully turn things around."

She added: "In the majority of cases, the interest rate on your debt is probably going to be higher than any interest rate you will earn on your savings, so ultimately you should be thinking about clearing that debt as quickly as possible.

"Definitely you want to be looking at clearing that debt as quickly as you can, so the best thing to do is … to sit down with a pen and paper, work out your budget for the coming year and work out how much you can comfortably afford to try and clear those debts as quickly as possible."

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