SINGAPORE (July 1): For Madam Rose (not her real name), 2015 was not a good year. She was in the midst of a divorce and worried about obtaining custody of her three children. She had no income and was saddled with debt incurred by her former husband. He needed money for lawyers’ fees in a criminal case and, on the promise that he would pay it back, she took out a $4,000 loan from a friend’s friend. But he did not pay up, the interest accrued and she was faced with a $6,000 debt and no way to pay it off.

The debt was always on the back of her mind. It compounded her mental stress that was already brought on by sorting out details related to the divorce, looking for a job and childcare for her three-year-old, as well as moving into a $400-a-month rental flat.

“It was very stressful for me. I don’t like having debt. I have a habit of paying off the full amount or even paying more. But my ex-husband is different. He will tell me not to pay bills in full,” says Madam Rose, 46, who now works in passenger assistance at Changi Airport.

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