Street scene in Stuttgart (symbol): Unemployment is gaining importance as a reason for over-indebtedness
Photo: Arnulf Hettrich / Fnoxx / imago images / Arnulf Hettrich
After inflation and short-time work, private debt could become another major problem in the wake of the pandemic.
This emerges from the current over-indebtedness report published by the non-profit Institute for Financial Services (iff) in Hamburg together with "Deutschland im Plus", a foundation for private over-indebtedness prevention.
"As with the 2007/2008 financial crisis, we can expect the global health crisis to have an impact on the over-indebtedness statistics with a delay of around two years," says Sally Peters, managing director of iff.
People exhausted all other options before going to debt counseling.
6.85 million people in Germany are, as the report says, over-indebted.
That is slightly fewer than in 2019 (6.92 million), but the consequences of the crisis are only felt with delays.
Income poverty drives more into over-indebtedness
In the course of the corona crisis, unemployment and short-time work are becoming more important as reasons for over-indebtedness. According to iff, only 19 percent of the cases were caused by them in 2019, by 2020 it was already 22.7 percent. It is therefore to be feared that "the consequences of the corona pandemic will be reflected in rising over-indebtedness figures and a rising level of over-indebtedness in the coming years," said Peters. In addition, more and more people are slipping into over-indebtedness because of income poverty; according to iff, this now applies to 11.36 percent of people. In 2011 the share was still 3.61 percent.
Another common cause of personal over-indebtedness is divorce.
According to iff 2020, they were responsible for 9.74 percent of cases after 9.62 percent in 2019. Most recently, 11.22 percent of private overindebtedness cases were due to illness (2019: 10.89 percent).
Other causes include addiction, starting a household or the birth of a child, poor credit advice or failed self-employment.
Private individuals are considered over-indebted as soon as they can no longer meet their financial obligations in the long term and this does not change in the foreseeable future.
Most of those affected have debts of less than 10,000 euros.