Are We Really in Recovery?
Over the last few months, we have been reading about how, after a very long time, the UK and ROI economies are back in recovery. Unemployment is decreasing, more jobs are arriving at these shores from overseas, and our housing market is starting to move forward. The mood music has definitely changed and there is certainly a more positive feel about the place.
However, I wouldn't be putting the kettle on for a full scale recovery any time soon. The fact of the matter today is that the island of Ireland is overflowing with debt. There is still way too much sovereign debt, SME debt and personal debt. Our banking system is still under serious duress, and access to finance to stimulate growth is extremely hard to come by.
In Northern Ireland for example, 42% of the total households are in negative equity. That means that 42% of the households in the country are under some form of financial duress, and in many cases struggling to put food on the table and fill the oil tank. The other huge challenge facing the island is that we are in the middle of a full blown austerity program. NI finance minister Mr Simon Hamilton went on record in the last few weeks, warning people that this austerity program will continue to 2020, and that in his opinion, things are going to get tighter for people across the board. This, coupled with the accepted view that interest rates will rise in the next 6/9 months, does not paint a very bright picture.
So what is the answer and how can we solve this problem? What I would suggest to anyone who is in debt right now is to get the proper advice, weigh up your options and then take action. Whether you're an SME or an individual, it's fundamental you do not bury your heads in the sand hoping the problem will go away. In the last few years, we have assisted hundreds of people and SME's though their debt challenges and all of them said the same thing: that they wished they had addressed the problem a lot sooner. It's not too late and there is good advice out there if you look hard enough. So take control of your affairs as the sooner you do, the sooner you will be back on a financial footing that will allow you to move forward again.