Recognize signals of debts and prevent worse

A friend asks if he can lend money. A family member does not pay back money he loaned. One of your employees’ wages are being seized. A client receives more and more payment reminders. This can all be signals that someone in your environment is dealing with problematic debts.

Do you suspect that someone in your surroundings is having financial problems? Do not draw conclusions too fast, but also do not wait too long to act on signals. Because debt problems can go from bad to worse, and support is often necessary.

In this article we will list the causes, signals and consequences of problematic debts. This way you can make a realistic estimation whether someone is in need of help. Is this the case? Talk to them and come with concrete advice for support. Aeslupa is more than happy to help with solutions.

Recognize signals for debts and prevent worse

Causes of debts

There are numerous causes that can lead to financial problems. We will list to most common causes here. Is someone in your personal or professional surroundings dealing with this? Do you recognize one or more of the signals listed in the following paragraphs? This means that person might need help to get more control over their finances.

Change in circumstances

It does not require any explanation that a decrease in income or an increase in expense can lead to financial stress. Dismissal or divorce will almost always go hand in hand with financial changes and can be causes of debt problems. Birth or death inside a household sometimes ask for financial flexibility that not everyone will have the space or capacity for. There are a number of other circumstances that can be an indicator for debts. For example, sickness, old age, an accident, starting an expensive education, leaving the parental home or starting a new business. Positive changes can also lead to negative financial consequences.

Complicated debts

We at Moneywood often see that complexity in our society and authorities are often the root of debt problems. Not, or incorrectly declaring taxes and not changing important information in time that affect tax benefits or governmental allowances can lead to very unpleasant surprises. Received benefits, allowances or premiums that need to be paid back or fines that people cannot afford to pay are regularly the foundation of growing debts. Especially vulnerable groups such as seniors or immigrants can have difficulty with correctly handling complex bureaucratic procedures.

More expenses than income

When more money goes out than comes in, it stands to reason that there is a financial gap ultimately. It is possible that someone in your surroundings is dealing with a structural financial problem because his or her income is too low to pay for the monthly financial burdens and basic needs. It is difficult to get out of the downward spiral of ever-increasing unpaid bills, expenses and loans. Help, then, is not only desirable, but often necessary.

However, even when there is sufficient income to pay for the fixed expense and basic needs. When someone in your surroundings has an excessive spending pattern (like too much online shopping or a lavish lifestyle) this can be the cause of debts.A helping hand may be needed for them to change their ways.

Mental or physical problems

Psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, stress or addiction often make it especially difficult to manage financial affairs. And often, the stress that the debt problems cause goes hand in hand with increasing psychological problems. Therefore, it becomes more difficult to pay off or prevent further debts.

Physical problems can also lead to debts. Work disability as a consequence of illness or an accident can have an impact on ones spending pattern. In addition, the expenses for facilities and medication are not within everyone’s budget

Debts because of third parties

Lastly, actions of external parties can be a painful cause of debts. An ex-partner that refuses to commit to its legal requirements, the victim of a scam or other crimes: it can all contribute to debts and the consequential tension and stress. Also in this case it does not require explanation that help and support can be of great benefit.

Do you suspect someone to have problems with debts and they might be dealing with one of the abovementioned causes? Check the list below for signs. It is possible that they are dealing with problematic debts.

Signals of debts

It often begins with a suspicion: something is off about the way someone is spending money. But you cannot quite place what the problem is or if there is in fact a problem that requires external help. Then, it is important to recognize the signs. You can do this with the help of our checklist. Do you think one or more of the following signs apply to someone you suspect is in need of help? Make sure you take action to prevent worse.

  1. Wanting to borrow money (repeatedly)
  2. Not paying back borrowed money 
  3. Seizure of wages 
  4. Collection fees 
  5. Unopened mail
  6. No money for gifts, trips or treats 
  7. Lies
  8. Theft
  9. Exhaustion
  10. Stress
  11. Cancelling activities that cost money
  12. Excessive spending pattern
  13. Calling in sick 
  14. Unanswered phone calls or messages
  15. Excuses to avoid paying (forgot wallet, out of calling credit)
  16. Neglect
  17. Not wanting to receive visitors 
  18. Stress or complaints about authorities responsible for payments
  19. Agitation, anger or aggression in regard to financial affairs 
  20. Children that stop with a hobby or sport

In short: although not all signals necessarily mean that someone is dealing with problematic debts, the signs mentioned above (especially a combination) can confirm that someone is in need of financial help.

What you can do to help

Open a conversation about your worries with the one you are concerned about. Do not go into the conversation with a blaming or judgmental tone. Make sure they understand that you can and want to help. Not by paying of debts or borrowing money, but offering them guidance that supports those in debt to get their financial situation under control. Moneywood is glad to inform you about the steps as a relative, friend, caregiver, employer or professional can take. Because the consequences of debts are often big and can go from bad to worse quickly. Especially for those with problematic debts, but also for their surroundings.


Do not hesitate to ask us questions, especially when it comes to financial worries. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or want to share your concerns.