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Financial worries increasing among UK households

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Financial anxiety among UK adults has risen sharply since last year and is back to the same level as 2013.

Research commissioned by MoneySuperMarket found that over a third of people (36 per cent) cited daily money worries as their main cause of stress. This equates to 18.5 million people, 19 per cent more than the 15.6 million who felt the same last year.

This year, more than a fifth (22 per cent) said their current financial situation caused the most stress, while 14 per cent worried mainly about their future financial outlook.

Almost a third (30 per cent) said they were more concerned about their finances than this time last year.

2016 outlook

Meanwhile, almost half (45 per cent) of UK adults believe their financial anxiety will get worse next year, with 29 per cent citing the rising cost of living as the main reason. A further six per cent are concerned by squeezes to their benefits, while three per cent are worried about their mortgage repayments.

Further impacts

Financial anxiety has other detrimental effects too. Fifty-nine per cent of UK adults who are worried about their money believe other areas of their lives are affected as a result. A fifth (19 per cent) said their money worries affect their health, although this has decreased from the 33 per cent who said the same last year. Fourteen per cent admit their relationship with their partner or spouse has suffered, while another 10 per cent state that another area of their life has been affected.

Rising debts

The nation’s debt mountain appears to be growing too. Two-fifths (39 per cent) said they are currently in debt, compared to the 36 per cent who said the same last year but slightly lower than the 40 per cent who were in the red at the same time in 2012.

However, 42 per cent of UK adults do think they will be able to clear some type of debt completely within the next five years. Nearly a third (29 per cent) think they’ll be able to pay off their credit card, while 18 per cent believe they will clear their personal loan and 15 per cent expect to settle their overdraft.

Those who frequently or occasionally worry about their finances plan to make cutbacks to their lifestyle, in order to get their finances into better shape. Half (49 per cent) will buy fewer non-essential items, 40 per cent will eat out less frequently and 27 per cent will go on fewer holidays. A quarter (25 per cent) plan to proactively switch their utilities to a cheaper tariff.

Kevin Pratt, consumer finance expert at MoneySuperMarket, said: “With a base rate rise looking likely to happen in 2016, the New Year is a good time to review your finances and work out whether you can make any changes to save money on your household bills. Spend some time looking at your outgoings and make sure you’re not overpaying on things like your energy or insurance, as this can make a big difference to your overall balance.

“If you’re feeling really overwhelmed by debt, don’t struggle on your own. Debt charities such as StepChange, National Debtline or the CAB are free and ready to help.”



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