Open Up

2. Open Up

People who are on top of their money will tick this off without thinking. But many people are drowning in unopened mail for fear of going under because of debt.

Not opening our post doesn’t mean the problems go away. In fact, charges build up and creditors get more aggressive about how they recover their cash. And a pile of unopened post does nothing for our mental health either.

“I was self-employed and the business just wasn’t working out,” revealed Jack, a Quids in! reader at a money event. “I owed money to suppliers and was running up credit card debts until it all ran out. I just ignored the post. I thought, ‘What’s the point? There’s no money to pay them off.’ The fear was crippling. When I finally did go through it all, I realised I only needed 10 of the 200-plus reminders. Then it was so much easier to see a way out.”

There are debt advice charities in most towns, starting with Citizens Advice. Every debt adviser there has met people who feel they’re sinking and turn up with a bag of unopened envelopes. Their job is to help people like this without judgement. The weight they lift off our shoulders is immense. That’s before we even get to grips with any debt that, of course, they’ll also help with from there.

Like checking our bank balance every day, there’s more to this than facing the pain. There is no way forward without taking this step. Just not being able to face opening our post is a red flag that something much bigger is wrong. Alongside this is the habit of checking through emails every day too. For claimants, there could be vital benefits information buried in the inbox.