Consumers are “more pessimistic and polarised about Brexit” impact on finances according to new research by Royal London. In a third quarterly YouGov the survey found that age and gender make a big difference to expectations, with women more likely to expect their finances to get worse rather than better after Brexit (35 per cent pessimistic and 7 per cent optimistic). Those aged 25 to 49 are also more likely to expect a decline in their finances rather than an improvement (41 per cent pessimistic compared with 7 per cent who are optimistic).

On the other hand, men over retirement age are more likely than any other group to say they think their personal finances will get better, with 22 per cent of men aged over 65 expecting an improvement and 48 per cent thinking their finances will stay “much the same”.

Becky O’Connor, personal finance specialist at Royal London, said “The UK is becoming united in its certainty that Brexit will have an impact on their personal finances. However, Brits are becoming more polarised about whether that impact will be positive or negative.”

“On balance, across all demographic groups, people are more pessimistic. This is leading to delays in big financial decisions, such as buying a house and even retiring.”

“The schism in expectations between the working age population and the retired population suggests that income insecurity plays a part in someone’s outlook.”

“Anyone who is worried can take some precautions with their cash, such as making sure they have a savings buffer worth three to six months’ of salary and talking through the risk level of their long-term investments and pensions with an independent financial adviser.”

Expectations for personal finances once Britain leaves the EU (% GB Adults)

Personal finances will… May 2019

 

Feb 2019 Nov 2018
get better 10 9 8
get worse 36 35 32
Stay the same 37 39 38
Don’t know 17 17 23

Women are significantly more likely to fear the impact of Brexit on their financial wellbeing than retired men. The survey found that women are five times more likely to say they think their own personal finances will get worse rather than better: 35 per cent of women think they will get worse compared with 7 per cent who expect an improvement.

Only 7 per cent of women think their finances will get better, compared to 14 per cent of men.

However men are more likely to be pessimistic in general, with 36 per cent believing their finances will get worse in a post-Brexit world. But they are more likely than women to have a view, with only 14 per cent of men saying they don’t know, compared to 21 per cent of women.

Expectations for personal finances once Britain leaves the EU by gender May 2019

Personal finances will… Women % May 2019 (Feb 2019)

 

Men % May 2019 (Feb 2019)
get better 7 (6) 14 (11)
get worse 35 (34) 36 (36)
Stay the same 37 (39) 36 (40)
Don’t know 21 (21) 14 (13)

The majority of the working age population expect their finances will suffer following Brexit. Four in ten (41 per cent) working age Brits think their finances will get worse, while less than one in ten (10 per cent) expect an improvement.

Among retirement-age Brits, 15 per cent expect an improvement compared with 20 per cent who feel pessimistic – a more even distribution of expectations. The proportion of 18 to 24-year olds who expect their finances will get worse has risen from 37 per cent in November 2018 to 42 per cent last month.

Meanwhile, 8 per cent in this age group now expect an improvement in their financial fortunes – up from 2 per cent six months ago.

Expectations for personal finances once Britain leaves the EU by age group May 2019

Personal finances will… Age 18 – 24

% May 2019 (% Feb 2019)

Age 25-49

% May 2019 (% Feb 2019)

Age 50-64

% May 2019 (% Feb 2019)

 

Age 65 or over

% May 2019 (% Feb 2019)

get better 8 (6) 7 (7) 12 (9) 15 (13)
get worse 42 (36) 41 (41) 38 (36) 20 (22)
Stay the same 20 (29) 33 (31) 37 (41) 51 (56)
Don’t know 29 (29) 19 (21) 13 (14) 14 (9)

Around eight million Brits – 16 per cent of the population, have put off making a big financial decision as a result of Brexit. There were increases in the number who had delayed buying a home (up from 29 per cent of those who had delayed a decision last quarter to 34 per cent, or 2.7 million people) and delayed retirement (up from 9 per cent to 14 per cent, or 1.1 million people).

The proportion of those eight million delaying a holiday fell from 46 per cent in February to 36 per cent, perhaps reflecting a seasonal dip in holiday buying, while the proportion delaying a car purchase was relatively unchanged, rising from 26 per cent to 29 per cent of those who had delayed a decision.

Of these eight million, the proportion delaying buying a house rose has risen from 29 per cent in February to 34 per cent in May – a key home-buying month – equivalent to 2.7 million people.

The proportion of those who have put off a decision who are delaying retirement has risen from 9 per cent to 14 per cent – equivalent to 380,000 Brits.

The proportion of people who have made changes to their general personal finances in response to Brexit uncertainty has increased from 8 to 10 per cent in the last three months.

A rise in the cost of food, a fall in the value of the Pound and an increase in the cost of energy were the top three biggest concerns among those fearing the worst for their money, with 92 per cent of this group – approximately 16 million GB adults – expecting the cost of food to go up, the survey found.

Meanwhile 86 per cent (equal to almost 14 million GB adults) of those who expect a general decline in their financial situation believe the value of the Pound will fall and 77 per cent – up from 71 per cent three months’ ago – think the cost of energy will rise after Brexit.

Worries about a possible rise in the cost of borrowing also increased by 5 percentage points.

Biggest concerns February 2019 % May 2019 % (of 36% of GB adults who think their personal finances will get worse) Quarterly change (percentage points)
Rising cost of food 93 92 -1
Fall in value of the Pound 84 86 +2
Rise in cost of energy 71 77 +6
Rise in cost of borrowing 40 45 +5
Rise in cost of housing 39 38 -1
Fall in income 27 31 +4

Regionally, Londoners and Scots are were most likely to say they expect their personal finances to get worse, while people in the rest of the south, the Midlands, Wales and the North were more likely to say their finances will stay the same.

Expectations for personal finances once Britain leaves the EU by region May 2019

Personal finances will…

 

London

 

 

Rest of south Midlands/Wales North Scotland
get better 8 11 10 11 7
get worse 42 34 34 33 49
Stay the same 24 40 38 39 30
Don’t know 25 15 18 18 14