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Money and behaviour

Debt mediation 2.0

Innovative tools for efficiency and effectiveness gains in debt mediation

Funded by TETRA


From until

View the project website


How can we guarantee that citizens not only become debt-free, but stay debt-free after a debt negotiation settlement? This was the central inquiry of our project. Since debt mediation requires extensive customization, the workload for debt mediators and financial counsellors dealing with clients with problematic debts has reached unprecedented and undesirable levels.


This project aims to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of debt mediation process. The calculation tool enables debt mediators to create realistic repayment plans, minimize negotiations with debtors regarding additional living expenses, streamline consultations with social workers, and anticipate fewer revocations of the negotiated settlements. Labour judges benefit from increased efficiency due to the flexible benchmark provided in this project, which enable them to assess individual living situations more quickly and fairly.


The objective of debt settlements is to achieve and maintain a debt-free status. Therefore, the focus should not only be on debt repayments, but also on creating conditions that enable individuals to maintain control over their household budgets. Our previous research has established that three conditions are a prerequisite for financial resilience: having a decent income, possessing the right financial skills and demonstrating healthy financial habits.

Consequently, our project focused on two key areas, namely devising an accurate and efficient method for calculating a minimum living wage that allows to fully participate in society while paying off debts, as well as developing tools pertaining to financial behavior and skills. To facilitate practical implementation, we have created a supporting website. Our objective is to empower individuals in their journey towards financial independence. The website provides insights into financial resilience and the prerequisites for it: adequate income, financial competencies, and financial behavior The resources and information are advantageous in all types of financial counselors and debt settlement negotiators and can also be consulted by individual consumers.

Read more about the project and the tools developed in our working paper (only in Dutch).

Read more about the project and the tools developed in our working paper.

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CEBUD Working paper.pdf



Nele Peeters

Joined the team in 2012. Fascinated by financial well-being and budget and debt counselling. A headstrong go-getter and an eloquent speaker. 


Ilse Cornelis

PhD in Psychology. Researcher on the topics of Financial Wellbeing and Reference Budgets, REMI.


Leen Van Thielen

Leen holds a degree in Sociology from VUB and is currently working as a researcher on projects focusing on reference budgets and poverty reduction.