Research from investment, protection and retirement specialist LV= shows how financial worries are leading to people delaying major life decisions such as getting married, buying a first home, starting a family or changing careers.
The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme* - a quarterly survey of 4,000 UK adults – highlights how millions of people are struggling with heating bills and have needed mental health support in the past 12 months.
Money worries are leading to consumers switching to cheaper brands, taking fewer holidays, cancelling subscriptions and taking on extra debt to make ends meet.
Some 23m (42%) describe their financial situation as struggling – 13 percentage points higher than 12 months earlier (29%/15m). Women (49%) are more likely than men (35%) to say they are struggling while those aged 35-54 are the age group most likely to be so.
The research found that the rise in the cost of living is forcing people to delay major life events. Nearly one in ten (9%/5m) UK adults say they want to have a child in the next 12 months but don’t think they can afford to. A similar number (9%/5m) want to get married but say they cannot afford to.
Workers are also reluctant to make major career changes. One in five workers (20%/7m) say they want to change career in the next 12 months but don’t think they can afford to. Some 17% of workers (5m) say they would like to start their own business whilst similar numbers say they would like to retire in the next 12 months but don’t think they can afford to.
Other decisions being put on hold by UK adults include buying a car (13%), or a first home (11%).
Consumers are taking a series of measures to manage their finances. Many are cutting back on leisure activities and holidays while others say they will take on extra debt.
Money worries are affecting the UK’s mental health and 40% (21m) of UK adults say they are worried about money, compared to 29% (15m) 12 months ago.
Nearly half of UK adults (46%/25m) say they are stressed or anxious – higher than 12 months earlier (43%/23m). Rising numbers say they have sought face-to-face mental health support with 9% (5m) seeking support compared to 7% (4m) a year earlier.
Women (57%) are more likely than men (34%) to say they feel stressed or anxious, while those with a household income of less than £25,000pa are much more likely to be stressed than households with an income over £100,000 (50% vs 31%).
Rising energy bills are a huge worry for UK consumers (53%), particularly for those with household incomes below £25,000 (63%). Some 17% (9m) UK adults say they are struggling to pay for heating – a big rise on six months earlier (10%/5m) and nearly one in four (24%) of parents with a child aged 0-10 say they are struggling to pay for heating.
Some 15% (8m) of UK adults say they are struggling to pay for food compared to 8% (4m) six months previously. About one in four (26%) of parents with a child aged 0-10 say they are struggling to pay for food.
“The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme provides a long-term view of the state of the nation’s personal finances.
“Our latest quarterly survey shows that the rise in the cost of living is taking its toll on the finances of millions of people. Every quarter over the past year we have seen an increase in the number of people who are struggling financially and many are feeling stressed and anxious.
“The huge rise in the cost of living is a huge worry for millions of people and our research shows many are dipping into savings and taking on extra debt to make ends meet. It’s also affecting people in other areas of their lives and many are now more reluctant to make major life decisions such as buying a first home or starting a family.”
Notes to Editors
LV= is one of the leading life and pensions mutual insurers, serving over 1million members and customers across the UK. As a protection, investment and retirement specialist, LV= offers a range of products, services and advice to help members and customers protect their income while they’re working and maximise it when they stop.
LV= and Liverpool Victoria are registered trademarks of Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited (LVFS) and trading styles of the LV= Group of Companies. Liverpool Victoria Financial Services Limited, registered in England with registration number 12383237 is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority, register number 110035. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth, BH1 2NF.