New research, published today by LV=, reveals big gaps in confidence among people in the UK, with women markedly affected.
The ‘Confidence Matters’ report, released to mark the launch of the insurer’s Green Heart Foundation initiative, shows that people define confidence as feeling secure (25%) and feeling like they can do anything (23%). Yet women spend a third of their time (120 days a year) feeling unconfident - equating to 27 years over their lives*.
Conversely, men feel confident more often than not, and experience insecurity just 84 days a year. Women are also much more likely than men to say they feel tested in day-to-day situations with 40% feeling unconfident travelling on public transport (versus 24% of men) and 54% uncertain in busy places (vs 34%).
Confidence issues come from both everyday occurrences and rarer life events. For all groups, the most confidence-knocking everyday events include arguments with family or friends (56%), meeting new people (53%) and a family member suffering a minor illness (50%). Whereas, suffering a serious physical illness (56%), being the victim of fraud (55%), being fired (52%) and losing a loved one (51%) rank as the life events that have the biggest negative impact.
In terms of factors that help build confidence, health and wealth both come through strongly. Three quarters (74%) respondents say ‘the health of my family’ has a positive impact on confidence, followed by ‘my own health’ (69%) and ‘financial security for me and my family’ (61%).
However, financial matters can understandably also have a negative impact and this seems to affect women’s confidence more than men’s. Half (51%) of women say checking their bank balance knocks their confidence (vs 31% of men), with receiving a bill (55% vs 34%) or going overdrawn (43% vs 28%) also more challenging for women. Money concerns also affect age groups differently, with 16-24 year olds’ confidence far more impacted than over-55s when checking bank balances (54% vs 21%) or credit scores (36% vs 13%).
LV=’s research also shows a clear overall ‘confidence gap’ between young and old. Sixteen to 24 year olds are the least confident age group, feeling confident just a quarter of the time (7.5 days a month), while over 55s are the most (16.6 days).
LV= exists to help its customers and members live more confidently and its Green Heart Foundation has been set up to give help, support, and confidence to people who need it most. LV= is committed to giving its customers and members more support than just financial and the Foundation’s purpose is to help LV= customers who are going through a particularly tough time regain their confidence. For example, one customer – Dorothy from Stockport – was bedbound, and experiencing financial worries after the death of her husband. Unable to attend his funeral without paying for a private ambulance due to her health, LV= supported her to get to her husband’s funeral by organising and paying for the private ambulance.
Katie Wadey, Chief Customer Officer at LV=, said: “All of us experience knocks to our confidence from time to time. Sometimes these can be triggered by small things, and other times it can be life events that are much more harrowing. At LV=, we’re on a mission to make more people feel more confident, more of the time. Our Green Heart Foundation is one way we provide help and support to people going through some of life’s toughest challenges, and instil confidence when it is needed most.”
Jo Hemmings, Behavioural Psychologist, said: “As LV=’s research demonstrates, confidence issues can impact people from all walks of life, and in very different ways. Sometimes people need a significant helping hand when they’re feeling vulnerable but sometimes it can be the smallest things that make the biggest difference. For some people, this could be surrounding yourself with family and friends, for others it can be as simple as getting your finances in order. Whatever it is, the best thing you can do is work out what gives you that boost as this could help you identify when others are in need too. Finally, don’t be afraid to share your worries because family, friends and close colleagues may not pick up on how you’re feeling and often the best way to get help is to ask for it.”