The most recent national study reflecting the attitudes and practices of Romanians in the financial field, conducted by KRUK Romania together with IRES in November this year, shows that 22% of Romanians have overdue payments.
Most of them are payments of bills (15%), returns of loans (8%), as well as installments (7%).
“We began this research in a special economic climate that was challenging for Romanians who had loans as well as for those who had to pay for food, utilities, and services. This is why we sought to identify a barometer of the debts and determine how many Romanians take accountability, as this is the first step towards balancing the financial situation for the upcoming winter and for the following year”, says Cosmina Marinescu, CEO KRUK Romania.
More than half of the debtors owe at most the equivalent of one monthly income, while 16% already have more than three monthly incomes to pay. Insufficient income or lack of a source of income, as well as occurring health problems are the main reasons for the accumulation of debt.
Only 20% of the respondents report legal repercussions as the main reason for payment and just under this percentage would pay out of moral obligation. However, almost all surveyed this year say they prioritize paying utility bills, which they never postpone, at the expense of health spending.
Saving is not, however, a priority in 2022, the study reveals. Half of the Romanian households do not save money, 44% of them – more than last year – say they had debts and 50% claim that it is difficult or extremely difficult to pay them off.
“In order to avoid a debt spiral, it is necessary to accurately evaluate our income, save intelligently, prioritize and limit expenses to what is actually essential, to learn how to manage our taxes so as to make sure that we get rid of the stress generated by them. In the last 15 years, over half a million Romanians have taken responsibility for their debts and paid them in full to KRUK, and their value has returned to the financial circuit. Even if we understand any financial situation and support step by step the payment on time, the responsibility is still the client’s and it is very important that there is awareness of the consequences”, adds Liviu Costică, COO KRUK Romania.
The main factor for which Romanians choose to pay their debts on time is the reduction of stress and only 12% are afraid of the repercussions.
In contrast, 90% say they assume responsibility and consider themselves personally accountable for the accumulated debts, although they anticipate rewards for timely payments. A third of respondents with overdue payments claim they have to forgo basic household expenses to be able to pay the debts, and 14% go as far as to postpone health expenses. Three quarters of Romanians consider that taking on debt in order to make large family investments is necessary.
30% of Romanians are able to satisfy only the bare necessities and just 40% say they have enough money to maintain a decent standard of living. However, the average amount saved has increased slightly from 960 lei to 1125 lei per month, compared to last year. Nevertheless, only 40% of those who make savings can live off emergency funds for a maximum of three months. 30% do not save up for such funds.
The same percentage of respondents that would have invested in business last year, says that this year they would rather save up money. Only 3% would invest in the stock market. The majority (37%) would still deposit the money in the bank.
Respondents have manifested increasing interest in loan payment and banks continued to be the most secure source of credit for Romanians.
Regarding the prioritization of the payment of installments, 44% of the interviewees say that, at this moment, they no longer have such expenses. Of those who say they have loans, 93% pay them with priority, 9% more than last year.
Compared to last year, the number of Romanians who declare that they have ever had loans has increased (+12%), which means that more Romanians have accessed this financing method this year for the first time; the majority of those who use this loan method are between the ages of 46 and 55 and are from Transylvania and Banat. The Revolut service is growing steadily in 2022 in the face of savings accounts; 80% of Romanians say they do not have such accounts.
The research was carried out by KRUK Romania, market leader in debt management, together with IRES in November this year, to mark the “Day Without Debt” – an international initiative of KRUK Group, carried out for the twelfth consecutive year on November 17th. The results of the study are representative at national, urban/rural level, on the active population 18-65 years, within a margin of error of ±4%.
KRUK Romania has been present on the debt management market since 2007 and is the leader of the financial responsibility industry, with offices in Bucharest and Targoviste and over 600 employees. KRUK Group is the largest debt collection company in Central and Eastern Europe, with operations in Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Italy and Spain.