Half-million Dutch households in serious financial trouble; Topic too “taboo”: Think tank

Woman dealing with bills
Woman dealing with billsPhoto: ginasanders/DepositPhotos

Over 500 thousand Dutch households are dealing with serious financial troubles, according to Nibud. And while the number of people facing financial troubles is not decreasing, fewer and fewer people are asking for help. This is because the topic is still too "taboo", Nibud believes, RTL NIeuws reports.

Nibud considers a household in serious financial problems if the household's fixed costs can no longer be paid. According to the think tank on budgetary issues, people wait an average of five years to seek help from their municipality or another authority. This means that a small payment arrears often already grew into major debt by the time help steps in.

According to Nibud, help with debt and arranging your budget is available. But people are reluctant to ask for help with their financial difficulties out of shame, underestimation of their problems, and misconceptions about debt. 

"Send a message as soon as possible to your bank and creditors that you know you have to pay, but that you don't have [the money] yet", Gabriella Bettonville of Nibud said to RTL Nieuws. "Say that you are looking for help. There are many help organizations where you can go. For example, every municipality is obliged to help you with a debt aid request."

A debt counselor will help you look at payment options and other solutions. 

Earlier this month the PvdA and ChristenUnie called for a fund to be established to buy the debts of people in serious financial problems. In this way, people struggling financially only have to face one creditor, instead of the multiple creditors and debt collectors they often have to deal with in practice.