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Employment and studying when you're in debt

Being in full time work or education can be rewarding, but it can also but a strain on various areas of your life.

Worrying about debt can make the pressures of work or studying worse, and can significantly affect these important areas of your life.

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How does debt affect my performance at work?

Many people struggle to sleep at night because they’re too worried by debt to get the rest they need. This can result in issues at work such as a lack of concentration, errors being made or an irritable mood with colleagues. All of these factors can make you feel like you’re underperforming, or that you’re in danger of losing your job, which can make your situation worse.

Trying to pay off debt by working long hours can be tiring, both mentally and physically. The same is also true if you’re working while bringing up a family or looking after loved ones. You may be feeling frustrated if you’ve been paying off debt but feel like you’re not really getting anywhere.

Who can I talk to if worry over debt is affecting my job?

Telling your employer what you’re dealing with means that they can support you. Talking to someone senior that you trust, such as your line manager, may help. If you’re not comfortable doing this, you could try speaking to your HR department in confidence. Some employers offer employee support to help with issues such as debt. 

Can debt prevent me from getting a job?

Various professions may not be available if you’re struggling with a debt problem, or enter into a debt solution such as bankruptcy. If you’re worried that your job may be affected by going bankrupt or being in debt, you can discuss your options with your HR department in confidence.

How can debt affect my studies?

Worrying about debt can affect your job, it can also affect how you study and what you get out of your education. So much of your energy has to go into learning new things and expanding your skills. It’s much harder to do this when you’re thinking about debt.

If you’re a student your bank may offer you a student overdraft. These can be very difficult to pay off however, especially if you’re on a low income.  Studying may limit the time available to work and earn a wage, which can make a debt problem more likely.

What help can I get if I’m a student and in debt?

For many people, their first encounter with debt is through learning to live and manage their finances as a student. It's understandable that not only do many students find themselves struggling with debt, but that it can often be a worrying situation that can seem difficult to deal with.

Your Student Union can give you advice on money, budgeting and staying on track with your debts. You can also find lots of useful information on managing your money at Save The Student.

We provide free and confidential debt advice. Our online advice tool can help you put together a personal action plan at any time of day. Alternatively, you can contact our advisors and create a budget over the telephone.