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I used this link: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/catch+up

"The debt problem may be catching up to consumers, with recent falling property prices a bad signal for retail sales, according to Cousins. House prices in England and Wales slipped last month, in the most lackluster July in five years, according to Acadata and LSL Property Services Plc. House prices had held up partly due to a government program that encouraged first-time buyers to enter the market, according to Cousins."

Source:https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-18/pyrford-says-brexit-is-sideshow-consumer-debt-bigger-challenge

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2 Answers 2

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It means that the problem may be getting closer or reaching out to or starting to influence the consumers.

Catch up is a phrasal verb that usually means that the subject is reaching the level as some objective

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  • That's what's in No2 of the link: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/catch%20up%20with
    – haile
    Aug 18, 2017 at 15:45
  • "begin to affect"
    – haile
    Aug 18, 2017 at 15:46
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I like @Coreplo's "starting to influence".

When an older person feels pain in their knees as they climb the stairs, we might hear them say "My age is catching up with me", that is, "I am beginning to feel the effects of getting older".

Applying that to the original quote: consumers are beginning to experience the effects of the debt problem.

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