Over half Britons stress about their financial situation amid growing debt struggles – but a third have more savings than at start of the pandemic
- 52% of Britons stressed or overwhelmed about their financial situation
- More than a third (36%) say the pandemic has resulted in improved finances
- Managing short-term finances like paying bills becoming more of a struggle
Covid-19 has highlighted a divide in Britons’ financial health, with some enjoying healthy savings and others encumbered by mounting debt concerns.
A growing number of Britons are struggling with debt since the onset of the pandemic, with more than half feeling stressed about their financial situation, new research shows.
Managing short-term finances like monthly budgeting and paying bills has also become more of a struggle, just as households are beginning to feel the squeeze from rising prices.
Debt worries: Over half of Britons are often feeling stressed about their financial situation
Overall, however, two years after the emergence of Covid, the financial health of Britons has improved slightly, as the uncertainty created by the pandemic has made more people plan for the unexpected and save for a rainy day where possible.
This is the picture painted by new research by Schroders Personal Wealth in collaboration with behavioural economists from Lloyds Banking Group.
Its latest financial health index – which takes into account day-to-day finances, borrowing as well as pension planning – shows a score of 53 out of 100, up slightly from 52 in 2020.
This is despite the country being gripped by a pandemic and several nationwide lockdowns for the past two years.
But looking at sub-categories of financial health, there has been a significant drop when it comes to keeping on top of debts, and a small decline in the management of day-to-day running of household finances.
On the other hand, while remaining low, the score for planning against unexpected shocks has improved significantly over the past two years, with a slight improvement in terms of planning for the future.
More than a third of people have said that pandemic resulted in improved finances, Schroder’s separate survey of 2,000 UK adults has showed.
Gender gap: Women continue to have disproportionately less than men in savings
Additionally, nearly one in four people have said they’re now more likely to create a financial plan, while 15 per cent are more focused on improving their financial security.
Many people’s finances have been resilient during the past couple of years, with three quarters saying they haven’t needed to adjust to support themselves or their family members throughout the pandemic.
But while savings have risen across the board since 2020, women continue to have disproportionately less than men – or around £12,200 in cash savings on average compared to around £17,600.
Despite there being a slight increase in the overall financial health score, over half, or 52 per cent, of UK adults have admitted to feeling regularly or occasionally stressed or overwhelmed due to their financial situation.
This compares to 48 per cent in 2020 when Schroder’s first issued the report.
The past two years have presented some serious financial challenges for many people, especially younger Britons.
Some 15 per cent needed to draw money from savings, rising to 21 per cent for 18-34-year-olds, 15 per cent for 34-54 and just 10 per cent for over 55s.
Leigh Dunkley at Schroders Personal Wealth said: ‘Our Money and Mind report reveals that this year’s financial health score has increased slightly compared to our previous results when the Covid-19 pandemic was somewhat in its infancy.’
But added: ‘There is huge acknowledgement that the human suffering and loss of life experienced as a result of Covid-19 may have an impact on society far greater and far longer than we can fully appreciate at the moment.
‘We also recognise that at the time of publishing this report the UK is experiencing 30-year high inflation rates, a rise in living costs and interest rates that are slowly increasing, the consequence of which is still to be felt on a national scale.’