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Monday, April 6, 2015 6:30 AM

A new survey has from MassMutual ( April 1) has revealed that many consumers find it difficult to admit that they have financial problems. According to the survey, roughly 56 percent of retirees said they would wait to tell their family they had a financial challenge until they resolved it. Millennials struggle with this problem as well, as nearly one quarter would wait at least a week, and perhaps forever, before approaching a loved one about a financial hardship.

While a reluctance to admit when one's finances have gone awry is common, it's also preventable, according to Susan Tiffany, CUNA director of consumer periodicals.  "There are two kinds of financial messes," Tiffany told "One is when life deals you a bad hand that you didn't see coming, and the other one is a self-created emergency that arises because you've been careless in your habits."

Tiffany also noted that many people often find themselves in a bad spot financially and, because they've developed poor habits, any attempt to rectify the situation only makes the situation worse. "They might go to a payday lender or a pawn broker or a car title loan person. I just can't think of a situation where that's going to improve things at all," Tiffany said.

Embarrassment over financial circumstances also can extend to financial counselors. But the CUNA financial expert said it's important to get past the discomfort and meet with someone who can truly help, such as someone from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

"It's just good personal finance hygiene, for lack of a better term, to seek out help," Tiffany said. "You're not going to appall anyone with your circumstances; they've seen it all before."