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Page last updated at 06:48 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 07:48 UK
Bankruptcy link to 'WAG-like' spending

By Adina Campbell
Newsbeat Reporter

Debt advisers say they're seeing more young people putting themselves at risk of bankruptcy because they're trying to live a celebrity lifestyle.

Adila Bhjat
Adila Bhjat says she used to spend without thinking about the cost

The Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) is worried ordinary people under the age of 30 are relying more on credit cards, loans and store cards to fund an unrealistic way of living.

New figures imply this is leading to more bankruptcy cases in England and Wales.

Figures from the Insolvency Service show that last year more than 62,000 people declared themselves bankrupt - that's up nearly 10,000 from 2005.

Those figures apply to all age groups including both men and women.

But the CAB say that they're getting increasingly worried about the number of young people asking for help with their debts. As a result, it's having a knock-on effect on rising bankruptcy figures.

The CAB says the problem is partly down to 'WAG-like' spending.

WAG temptatation

Samantha Nurse from the service said: "Young people in general probably have less financial skills than any other age group.

"The WAGs in the newspapers, the footballers' wives and girlfriends, young people see the designer clothes they're wearing and there's the temptation to live that lifestyle."

A big influence and one of the reasons why I'm in so much debt is down to magazines. I'd see things in them I'd want and buy them knowing I couldn't afford to pay for it
Sean Smith, 21

Twenty-two-year-old Adila Bhjat from Stoke On Trent used to have a big spending problem.

She is in £10,000 worth of debt, including various credit cards and store cards.

She said: "I used to go into shops and whatever I saw I'd buy it. I'd just spend away in all my favourite high street shops without thinking about the cost of it all.

"When you see celebrities in magazines wearing expensive designer gear you want to look like that. You've got things like hair extensions, make up, getting your nails done - it all adds up."

Magazine influence

Twenty-one-year-old Sean Smith from Stoke On Trent owes creditors and debt agencies more than £75,000. He's applying for bankruptcy.

He said: "It all started when I was 16. I took out a loan on a motorbike for £12,000, then lost my job and couldn't afford to pay back the money I borrowed.

"Over the years I've also taken out loans on cars and used credit cards, mobile phone contracts and store cards.

"This has all added to the serious financial state I'm in.

"A big influence and one of the reasons why I'm in so much debt is down to magazines. I'd see things in them I'd want and buy them knowing I couldn't afford to pay for it."



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