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Average Debt to Income Ratio UK

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Scott Nelson

Managing Director

MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.

Learn more about Scott
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Janine
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.

Learn more about Janine
· Feb 6th, 2024
Could you legally write off some debt? Answer below to get started.

Total amount of debt?

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

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average debt to income ratio uk

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

If you’re feeling worried about your debt and are curious about the average debt-to-income ratio in the UK, you’ve come to the right place.

This is a common concern for many, and you’re not alone in wanting to understand your financial situation better. In fact, over 170,000 people visit our website every month for guidance on debt solutions.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  •  What the average debt-to-income ratio in the UK is
  •  How to determine if your debt-to-income ratio is good
  •  The latest debt-to-income ratio statistics
  •  How this ratio varies with age
  •  Frequently asked questions about debt-to-income ratios

We understand your worries, as some of our team members have also struggled with debt collectors. We know it can be tough, but with the right information and support, you can navigate through your financial worries.

So, let’s start learning about debt-to-income ratios, and how you can use this knowledge to better manage your finances.

Could you legally write off some debt?

There are several debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one for you could write off some of your unaffordable debt, but the wrong one may be expensive and drawn out.

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find. MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

What is the Average Debt-to-Income Ratio in the UK?

In the second quarter of 2022, the average debt-to-income ratio for households in the UK was 133.9%.

During this period, the average amount of personal debt for an adult in the UK was £33,410. In 2020, the average full-time income in the UK was £31,487 and the average amount of personal debt was £31,643

These figures demonstrate that it has become normal for an adult in the UK to have more debt than their annual income. 

average earnings for full time staff

In 2020, the average full-time income in the UK was £31,487

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Debt-to-Income Ratio Statistics

A debt-to-income ratio of over 50% is considered to be high. People in this bracket will likely struggle to obtain further personal credit or to apply for a mortgage.

If a lender does accept someone with this high a ratio, then they will be subject to high interest rates, and, in the case of a mortgage application, a larger deposit will likely be required. 

  • From the second quarter of 2020, the debt-to-income ratio of households in the UK increased significantly, reaching a peak of approximately 136% in the second quarter of 2021.
  • The ratio of household debt to disposable income is projected to rise by 1.1% in 2023. 

To understand why the typical debt-to-income ratio is so high, it pays to take a look at average income figures: 

How a debt solution could help

Some debt solutions can:

  1. Stop nasty calls from creditors
  2. Freeze interest and charges
  3. Reduce your monthly payments

A few debt solutions can even result in writing off some of your debt.

Here’s an example:


Situation

Monthly income £2,504
Monthly expenses £2,345
Total debt £32,049

Monthly debt repayments

Before £587
After £158

£429 reduction in monthly payments

If you want to learn what debt solutions are available to you, click the button below to get started.

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Average Debt-to-Income Ratio by Age

The debt-to-income ratio fluctuates between different age groups, as seen below:

  • 16-24 year olds have an average of 56%.
  • 25-34 year olds have an average of 98%.
  • 35-44 year olds have an average of 124%.
  • 45-54 year olds have an average of 150%.
  • 55-64 year olds have an average of 164%.
  • Those aged 65 and over have an average of 152%.

Reaching retirement age with such a significant amount of debt naturally poses a big problem as income tends to decrease during this time. 

After taxes and housing costs, the average UK retirement income is £304 a week, which equates to an annual income of £15,080.

If a person enters retirement with a high level of debt, then it may be hard to manage the payment on this level of income.

What is a Good Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Average Debt to Income Ratio UK
Source: MSE Forum.

With the average UK debt-to-income ratio being so high, it might be easy to assume that an elevated figure isn’t so bad.

However, these ratios are considered unfavourable and will impact a person’s access to credit. 

So, what is a good debt-to-income ratio? Under 20% is considered a very good number.

Achieving this figure will help you to get a favourable rate on a mortgage application or to secure other lines of credit.

However, anything under 50% should not be too concerning to a lender. Up to 39% is considered acceptable for most lenders, with those between 40% and 49% deemed to be ‘moderate risk borrowers’.

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Debt to Income FAQs

How do I figure out my debt-to-income ratio?
You can figure out your own debt-to-income ratio by dividing your monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income and then multiplying this figure by 100 to get the percentage.

For example, if you pay £300 in debt payments every month and your monthly income is £1500, then you calculate 300 divided by 1500, which equals 0.2. You can then times 0.2 by 100 to get 20%.
What debt-to-income ratio is acceptable for a mortgage provider?
If you’re looking to get on the property ladder, but you have debts, then your debt-to-income ratio should generally be less than 40%. The lower your debt-to-income ratio, the higher your chance of getting a good mortgage deal with a reasonable interest rate. You’ll also likely find that a smaller deposit is required than if your ratio is higher.
Can you get approved for a mortgage with a high debt-to-income score?
If your ratio is above 50%, then this isn’t great for your mortgage application. However, it does not automatically mean your application will be rejected.
Will my debt-to-income ratio affect my credit score?
Your debt-to-income ratio does not directly impact your credit score. This is a measure of affordability used by lenders to determine your risk. However, a high ratio often goes hand in hand with high levels of debt.
Why is debt-to-income ratio important?
This is an important figure because it helps lenders to get an accurate insight into your risk level as a borrower. It can also help you to better understand your personal financial situation.

But again, it is always best to get support from an independent debt charity like Citizens Advice or StepChange. They can guide you to a debt-free life again. 

Could you legally write off some debt?

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find. MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

References

Gov.uk

IBISWorld

Statista

The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.
Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Debt Expert
Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.
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