Serious financial difficulty only kicks in when people have debt levels of at least £14,416, says insurance company Bright Grey.
This is because despite the current economic situation, people are still comfortable dealing with being in debt, the company’s latest Financial Safety Net report shows.
But the report also shows that attitudes towards debt are changing and the average figure is £1,421 lower than a year ago.
Those aged between 35 and 54 are the most relaxed when it comes to being in the red and on average believe they would need to owe almost £16,000 before they would start to struggle.
"People are more wary about getting themselves into serious levels of personal debt, yet over £14,000 is still clearly a cause for concern.
Attitudes are moving in the right direction but there needs to be a sizable shift. As a result, we need to keep control of our finances so we have contingency plans in place if we urgently need access to cash," says Roger Edwards, spokesperson for Bright Grey.
"Britons need to make financial provisions for their future and not live under the hope that state benefits or bail outs from family and friends will allow them to maintain their standard of living if they lost their income," he adds.