A study of 2,000 Brits commissioned by Paragon Bank has found that the average adult spends the equivalent of a whole year worrying about money over their lifetime. The research revealed that adults think about their finances four times a day, for a total of 28 minutes. This amounts to 170 hours per year, equivalent to a full week.
The study also highlighted the impact of money worries on mental health, with more than a quarter of adults admitting that financial concerns are bad for their mental well-being. The pressure of money concerns has become so significant that 15 percent of adults reported being preoccupied with financial worries while driving, and 13 percent while socializing with friends.
The most common financial concerns identified in the study include calculating how much money will be left after essential expenses (37 percent) and paying household bills (36 percent). Other worries include coping with changes in financial situations (25 percent), saving money in a savings account (31 percent), and paying off debts (22 percent).
Derek Sprawling, savings director at Paragon Bank, emphasized the importance of improving financial education and planning, particularly during times of job insecurity. He highlighted the impact of financial stress on mental health and encouraged individuals to take steps to feel more in control of their finances as a means of improving their well-being.
The study also revealed that more than a quarter of adults avoid discussing finances, leading to conflicts in relationships. Currently, 16 percent of respondents keep money-related secrets from their loved ones, and 14 percent find it challenging to find the right time to bring up the topic. Financial worries also disrupt sleep, with 30 percent of adults being distracted by money thoughts while in bed and waking up four nights a month due to financial concerns, resulting in a loss of 27 minutes of sleep each time.
The research indicated that financial fears increase with age for over half of respondents, and 17 percent expressed a desire for more available help and advice. The current economic climate and the impact of the pandemic have further exacerbated financial worries, with 27 percent of adults feeling increased money concerns during the lockdown period. Job security and income loss were among the top concerns, with more than a third seriously worried about losing their job.
Derek Sprawling suggested utilizing online resources such as planning guides, digital budget spreadsheets, and general guidance to help improve money management skills. Paragon Bank also offers a digital guide to recession-proof finances on their website, providing additional support for individuals seeking to navigate financial challenges.
Top 10 money worries for Brits currently include concerns about disposable income, household bills, savings contributions, upcoming occasions, coping with financial changes, interest rates, debt repayment, affording a holiday, personal treats, and rent/mortgage payments.