One in five adults rank their financial wellbeing as 'poor' or 'very poor'

Perkbox has released the 2019 UK financial wellbeing survey. Within this study of 1,139 employed adults, it discovered that money is the biggest cause of stress for employed adults, with over a quarter (27%) experiencing financial stress every single day.

Delving into the UK’s financial wellbeing – which relates to a sense of security and feeling as though you have enough money to meet your needs. The survey revealed that almost one in five (18%) would describe their current financial wellbeing as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. When viewing this data on a scale of 0-4, with 0 being ‘very poor’ and 4 being ‘very strong’, the UK’s average financial wellbeing came in at 2.3 – verging just over ‘poor’ into ‘average’ territory. This begs the question of what more should be done to improve the financial wellbeing of the UK’s workforce.

Looking into individual factors impacting financial wellbeing, ‘not having enough emergency savings for unexpected costs’ came in first place, with 56% stating that this concern brings them the most stress. This is followed by a more surprising concern in second place. It appears that pressure, possibly stemming from social media, is also causing a huge amount of concern. 41% of adults state that ‘feeling behind financially in comparison to those around me’ is one of their biggest causes of financial stress, followed by ‘feeling unable to reach future goals, such as buying a house’ which affects 39%.

When it comes to the impacts of financial stress, a huge 51% of adults have experienced strain on their relationships at home, while almost a third have experienced impacts on their health. These impacts aren’t just limited to personal lives either. Almost a quarter (24%) feel that their productivity at work has been impacted by financial stress and 12% have experienced an impact on relationships at work.

The survey further revealed the gender variance in causes of financial stress. Certain times of the year bring more stress to women than men, with 36% of women stating that they feel financial stress from ‘struggling to afford special occasions, such as Christmas’, compared to just 27% of men. But the biggest variance was displayed within the stress of ‘being able to afford monthly expenses’, with a huge 29% of women citing this as one of the most stressful factors, compared to just 13% of men.

Despite these variances, men infact rated their financial wellbeing as worse than women, with 19% of men rating their financial wellbeing as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’, compared to just 16% of women.

So how is the UK tackling these concerns? Just under one in 10 don’t take any action to deal with their financial worries. This is most common amongst the 18-24 year old age group – as just 13% of 18-24 year olds take any action to deal with financial stress. For those that do work to improve financial wellbeing, the most common method used is to ‘look for bargains and discounts’, with 69% of adults stating that this is how they tackle their concerns, followed by 44% who ‘reassess regular outgoings’.

Whilst UK workers may not be satisfied now, a large 40% expect it will just take 1–5 more years before they are content with their financial situation. Surprisingly, 1–5 years is the most popular time frame until expected financial satisfaction, regardless of current age. 41% of 18–24 year olds believe they will be satisfied with their financial situation in this time frame, alongside 46% of 25–34 year olds, 38% of 35–44, 33% of 45–54 and 27% of 55+.

One in five believe that financial satisfaction will take slightly longer, with ‘5–10 years’ coming in second place. However, over 10% believe that they will never be fully satisfied with their financial situation, while just 8% of employed adults are currently financially satisfied.

Top 10 causes of financial stress:

1. Not having enough emergency savings for unexpected costs – 56%

2. Feeling behind financially in comparison to those around me – 41%

3. Feeling that I will be unable to reach future goals, e.g. buying a house – 39%

4. Feeling limited in my career/salary progression – 37%

5. Struggling to afford special occasions like Christmas – 33%

6. Not being able to retire when I want to – 32%

7. Having to miss out on events and social occasions – 28 %

8. Not being able to meet monthly expenses – 27%

9. The fear of losing my job – 24%

10. Not being able to keep up with debts – 20%

Most common methods to tackle financial stress:

1. Look for bargains and discounts – 69%

2. Building and working to a budget – 45%

3. Reassess regular outgoings – 44%

4. Use comparison tools to lower expenses – 31%

5. Set financial goals – 31%

6. Build emergency funds – 31%

7. Prepare for the future such as planning for pension – 27%

8. Talk to someone about my concerns – 19%

9. See an advisor – 3%

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