Adults’ financial anxiety in 2015 has increased sharply since 2014 and is now back to the same level as 2013, with 18.5 million people feeling stressed about their money every single day, according to research commissioned by MoneySuperMarket.
The firm’s annual insight into the nation’s stress levels found that over a third of those surveyed (36%) cited daily money worries as their main cause of stress. This equates to 18.5 million people, 19% more than the 15.6 million who felt the same last year.
In 2015, 22% say it’s their current financial situation that is causing the most stress, while 14% worrying mainly about their future financial outlook. 30% state they are more concerned about their finances than this time in 2014.
Those aged 18 to 34 are three times more likely to be worried about their current or future financial situation than those aged 55 or over (54% and 18% respectively).
Kevin Pratt, consumer finance spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said: “Money worries continue to keep many Brits awake at night and after an improvement in 2014, financial anxiety has now shot back up to the same level as two years ago. Stressing about money can impact other areas of your life and take its toll on your mental health, so it’s important to understand the options available to help you manage your money more effectively and alleviate some of that anxiety. Something as simple as switching your credit card could help you save money on interest payments each month, and in turn, hopefully help lessen some of the burden.”
45% of UK adults believe their financial anxiety will get worse in 2016, with 29% citing the rising cost of living as the main reason. A further 6% are concerned by squeezes to their benefits, while 3% are worried about their mortgage repayments.
53% of UK adults are frequently or occasionally worried about their finances. Again, the younger generation suffers more than the older demographic, with 67% of 18 to 34 year olds stating they frequently or occasionally worry about the state of their finances, compared to 38% of those aged 55 or over. Women feel the strain the most, with 59% saying they worry about money compared to 48% of men.
Financial anxiety has other detrimental effects too. 59% of UK adults who are worried about their money believe other areas of their lives are affected as a result. 19% say their money worries affect their health, although this has decreased from the 33% who said the same last year. 14% admit their relationship with their partner or spouse has suffered, while another 10% state that another area of their life has been affected.
MoneySuperMarket said the nation’s debt mountain appears to be growing too. 39% state they are currently in debt, compared to the 36% who said the same last year but slightly lower than the 40% who were in the red at the same time in 2012. However, 42% of UK adults do think they will be able to clear some type of debt completely within the next five years. 29% think they’ll be able to pay off their credit card, while 18% believe they will clear their personal loan and 15% 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. 49% will buy fewer non-essential items, 40% will eat out less frequently and 27% will go on fewer holidays. 25% plan to proactively switch their utilities to a cheaper tariff.