Nearly half of UK adults (47%) say that financial worries impact their life and more than a quarter (26%) say that it makes them feel depressed and anxious, rising to more than a third (35%) of 35-54 year olds. Nearly a fifth (17%) admit they struggle to sleep worrying about money, which rises to 22% of those aged 18-34.
The new survey of 2,000 UK adults was conducted by WEALTH at work, a leading financial wellbeing and retirement specialist. It revealed that one in seven (14%) feel embarrassed about their financial worries, again impacting younger people more commonly. Nearly a quarter (23%) of those aged 18- 34 feel this way, compared to only 6% of those aged over 55.
One in ten (10%) say financial worries mean they avoid seeing people, 9% admit it causes arguments with family and in relationships, and 7% believe it makes them less productive at work.
Not being able to pay basic living costs such as rent, energy bills and food is the biggest financial concern for UK adults (34%), with a third (36%) saying that they are having to cut back on what they spend due to increases in the cost of living, increasing to 42% amongst those aged 35-54.
Other worries include not having savings for unexpected costs (29%), being in debt (23%), affording their current lifestyle (17%), not being able to provide financially for their family (16%), not being able to retire when they want to (15%), and rising interest rates (14%).
The survey found that more than four fifths (88%) say that they know the amount of money they spend on essentials (mortgage, rent, bills, food and energy) each month, and three quarters (75%) know the amount of money they spend on travel and fuel each month. With more than half of UK adults (51%) saying that they already shop around for the best deals on household bills and insurance and a similar proportion (49%) say that they never buy anything they cannot afford.
Despite this, only just over a third (38%) actually keep a budget and know what they can spend each month.
Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work, comments; “It is shocking that more than a quarter of UK adults feel depressed and anxious due to financial worries. For those who are feeling this way, this research shows that you are not alone. This isn’t something to be ashamed of, but it is important that you can face up to it, and get the help you need.”
He continues, “If you have a low income and are struggling to pay your bills, speak to Citizens Advice who can help you to work out what benefits or grants you may be eligible for. The Government recently announced a new one off payment of £650 to low-income households on means tested benefits such as Universal credit.”
He adds, “If you are in debt to your energy supplier, many of them are offering grants to help, some are even offering grants to people who aren’t their customers. The Government has also increased its energy bills discount due in October to £400, and it no longer has to be paid back.”
Watts-Lay adds; “If debt is something you worry about there are many debt charities out there such as Stepchange and National Debtline, who can help people to fix serious debt problems.”
He says; “The first thing to do if you are concerned about money is to work out exactly what you have coming in and going out each month. Whilst many people seem to know how much they spend on their bills, in reality not all of them keep an accurate budget showing what is coming in and going out each month. There are many budgeting tools available online to help with this such as MoneyHelper’s budget planner.”
Watts-Lay concludes; “Many workplaces provide financial education and guidance for their employees to help them understand their finances including ways to save money, manage debt and how to boost savings. This is especially useful right now and it’s always worth speaking to your employer to see what support they offer.”
The survey of 2,000 UK Adults was carried out by Opinium from 8 – 11 April 2022.