A significant number of Australians feel trapped by their financial situation – and a study revealed that this may be keeping them from taking a more active role in managing their money.

A survey conducted by Mortgage Choice and CoreData revealed that 34% of respondents say they feel embarrassed by their financial habits. Furthermore, 42% of Australians feel embarrassed by their personal debt, and one third hide the fact that they are in debt.

“Our research has found that when it comes to their finances, many Australians say they are embarrassed, which may stem in part from their personal debt and overall money habits,” said Susan Mitchell, chief executive officer of Mortgage Choice. “The research [also] found that more than a quarter (27%) of Australians spend more than they earn, which may explain why they are racking up personal debt.”

The research gave some insight into what prevents Aussies from taking charge of their finances.

“This begs the question, are the feelings of embarrassment keeping Australians from taking an active role in managing their money?” asked Mitchell. “The research suggests this might be the case, as one-fifth of Australians said they often do not regularly monitor their finances. The problem with avoiding the topic of money altogether is that often, a small problem can snowball into something more serious if it is not dealt with early on.”

“I encourage anyone feeling embarrassed or ashamed of their financial situation to seek professional help. The reality is you are not alone and there are things you can do to take control of your personal debt, but you need to start sooner rather than later.”