How to increase your financial confidence
Worrying about money can affect your mental health
Anxiety about finances can lead to many negative feelings1, as well as have an impact on our mental health. This can be debilitating when we have so many financial responsibilities each month, ranging from day-to-day money management and paying important bills.
We carried out two surveys of 2,000 Brits each to find out what financial activities affect people the most, and how. We also spoke to money charity StepChange about the impact money worries can have on people and the best tips to manage them.
According to our study, 43% of Brits said money worries have negatively impacted their lives in some way
Money worries impacted sleep the most, with 68% of those who stated they had been affected saying their sleep is suffering
Over half (52%) feel that their mental health is impacted by worrying about paying bills, mortgages, and rent
How much savings respondents have are a cause of concern for over a third (36%) surveyed
Over half (51%) of 25-34 year olds in the survey have felt affected the most by financial worries. This is the highest percentage for all age groups surveyed
Money worries have negatively impacted a large proportion of respondents’ lives
Our survey2 asked people living in Britain about whether their mental health has been affected by different financial activities.
With inflation at a 40-year high3 and bills rising, the survey revealed that the biggest money worry was around paying bills, rent, and mortgages with over half (52%) having their mental health negatively impacted by these concerns.
Money worries impact sleep the most with over two-thirds of people (68%) surveyed having their sleep affected
68% of respondents who stated their life had been affected in some way due to financial worries said their sleep is negatively affected, followed by mood (52%), health (37%), appetite (28%), relationships (27%), and work performance (19%).
Sue Anderson, Head of Media at StepChange Debt Charity, commented: “Money and mental health are intrinsically linked, and mental health issues can be both a cause and a consequence of problem debt.
“Being in debt can have a serious impact on someone’s life beyond the financial implications and can increase their risk of experiencing issues such as stress, anxiety, or depression. At the same time, people experiencing mental health problems may find it more difficult to manage their financial affairs.”
Over half of those surveyed worry about paying their bills, rent, and mortgages
A further survey2 we carried out of 2,000 people found that of those who answered they were affected, paying bills was the biggest concern (52%), followed closely by worrying about how much they have in savings (36%). Over a third (35%) said that looking at their bank statements causes them to worry.
With inflation over 9% since May this year and expected to rise to 11%3, outgoings are increasing, and the value of money is decreasing. This could be a reason why many people feel anxious looking at their bank statements - money isn’t going as far as it used to in covering bills and costs, and bank balances are lower than usual.
Buying essentials and transport costs are a cause of concern for 1 in 3 surveyed while credit card payments are the smallest concern
The survey revealed that buying essentials like food shopping, clothes, and bathroom products as well as transport costs are causing people stress (32% and 30%, respectively). The cost of living has been increasing across the UK since early 2021, affecting the affordability for basics like food and commuting to work – the amount it costs to fill the average car with fuel rose to over £100 for the first time4.
Additional findings reported that credit card payments have an impact on 26% of those who were affected, the smallest percent in the research. This is a surprising stat considering how more people will be relying on credit in the cost of living crisis, however it highlights how other money concerns have risen lately in comparison, such as paying rent and bills.
25-34 year olds surveyed were most commonly affected by financial worries
Over half (51%) of 25-34 year olds surveyed have felt that different areas of their lives have been negatively impacted by money worries. The responses by age were:
While 25-34 is the most impacted demographic, 65+ are the least, with just over a third (35%) of this age group responding that they have money worries.
According to a report by Deloitte5, the cost-of-living crisis is now a leading concern for Gen Zs and millennials, overtaking climate change from the top spot in the previous year’s research.
Five top tips from charity StepChange on taking back control of your finances
We spoke to StepChange, a charity committed to helping people with debt problems take back control of their finances and their lives if they have debt or bad credit. Sue Anderson, Head of Media at StepChange Debt Charity, offered five expert tips on how to deal with debt and mental health.
1. Understand where your money is going
Start by putting together a budget to see where your money is going and understand what bills are the most important. This will help you take control of your finances and see where savings might be possible.
While it may seem daunting to face your bank statements, doing so will help you identify your income and outgoings and where you can cut back or make changes. Visit StepChange’s website for a step-by-step guide on putting together a budget plan.
2. Talk to your creditors
If you’re behind on your bills, talk to your creditors – if they don’t know you’re struggling with payments, they won’t be able to help. You might be able to negotiate a payment plan with your bank or take advantage of a grant that can pay off some or all of a utility bill.
It’s also important to make your creditors aware if you have a mental health condition. Under the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) guidance, protecting vulnerable customers and treating them fairly is a key priority which firms are expected to adhere to. If your creditors are aware of your situation, they may be able to offer more targeted support.
3. Be informed about what you’re entitled to
It’s important to make sure you are getting all the help you are entitled to. StepChange’s benefits calculator is a really good place to start in helping you easily identify any benefits you can claim to help increase your income and improve your situation.
4. Open up to someone you trust
Talk to someone you trust – you might feel uneasy about telling your loved ones about your debts but talking to someone you trust can help you feel less alone. Debt isn’t something to be ashamed of and it’s certainly not something you should suffer with in silence.
5. Seek advice from a charity
StepChange urges anyone worried about the rising cost of living to explore the support available – the charity’s cost of living hub is a useful starting point. If you’re feeling stressed about your finances, help is available. An organisation like StepChange can offer free and impartial debt advice tailored to your circumstances, over the phone or online.
Sue comments: “If you’re struggling with debt and your mental health, you’re not alone. While it can be difficult to open up and admit that you’re finding things hard, it’s the first step in getting back on track. StepChange’s research looking at client outcomes found that three months after debt advice, two-thirds of clients (67%) said they worried less about their debts than they did before receiving advice from the charity.
“Visit StepChange’s website to find sources of support and free resources to help you manage your money worries and mental health. StepChange can offer free, impartial, and confidential debt advice both over the phone and online.”
2We carried out two separate Google surveys of 2,000 Brits each with multiple-choice options. The data was collected on 16th June 2022.
The questions were:
Have you ever felt that your mental health has been impacted by:
Viewing your bank statements, Credit card repayments, Paying bills/mortgage/rent, Buying essentials, How much savings you have, Transport costs, None of the above
Have money worries ever negatively impacted any of these areas of your life:
Sleep, Relationships, Appetite, Work performance, Mood, Health, None of the above
Any discrepancies in percentage are due to rounding and respondents being able to choose multiple answers.