MoneySuperMarket’s annual insight into the nation’s financial stress levels shows over 11 million people (22 per cent) cite daily money worries as their main cause of stress. Financially stressed adults suffer from a range of emotional consequences too, including feeling panicky (37 per cent), overwhelmed (33 per cent), disappointed (31 per cent), exhausted (27 per cent) and embarrassed (24 per cent).
Despite these mounting feelings, more than a third (36 per cent)2 face the problem alone and don’t share their concerns with their nearest and dearest. However, two fifths (39 per cent) speak to their partner, 16 per cent speak to friends and 14 per cent discuss issues with parents.
The research also found 46 per cent of UK adults are frequently or occasionally worried about their finances. The younger generation suffers more than the older demographic, with 58 per cent of 18 to 34 year olds stating they frequently or occasionally worry about the state of their finances, compared to 30 per cent of those aged 55 or over. Women feel the strain the most, with 51 per cent admitting they worry about money compared to 40 per cent of men.
Over half of those stressed about their finances (54 per cent) say more than just their bank account is affected as a result. A fifth (20 per cent) believe their money worries impact their health, 17 per cent admit their relationship with their partner or spouse has suffered, while another eight per cent state another area of their life has been affected.
Two-fifths (41 per cent) of UK adults believe their financial anxiety will get worse in 2017, with 17 per cent citing the rising cost of living as the main reason. A further eight per cent are concerned by the impact of Brexit and political uncertainty, while four per cent are worried their benefits will be squeezed.
The majority (81 per cent) of those who are worried about their finances plan to make cutbacks to their lifestyle in order to get their finances into better shape this year. Half (47 per cent) will buy fewer non-essential items, a quarter (24 per cent) will cut back on social engagements and 13 per cent plan on switching financial providers to get a better deal.
Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said “Many pundits expect inflation to rise in 2017, perhaps as high as four per cent, so this New Year is definitely a good time to review your finances and work out whether you can make any changes to save money on your household bills. Simply looking at your outgoings to make sure you’re not overpaying on bills like energy or insurance can make a big difference, while switching your credit card could help you save money on interest payments each month, and in turn, hopefully lessen some of the burden.”