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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

11 million people stressed about their finances every day

Daily money worries are the main cause of stress for 22% of people living in the UK, with two-fifths of adults believing their financial anxiety will get worse in 2017 according to research by MoneySuperMarket.

New year a 'good time to review your finances' ©Shutterstock
New year a 'good time to review your finances' ©Shutterstock

Their annual insight into financial stress levels also found that 46% of adults in Britain are frequently or occasionally worried about potential money problems, with a fifth of these people thinking it is damaging their health.

The rise of living costs was cited as the main reason to believe this year will be worse than the last by 17% of people, followed by the impact of political uncertainty, and fear of benefits being squeezed by 8% and 4% respectively.

MoneySuperMarket consumer affairs expert, Kevin Pratt, said: “Many pundits expect inflation to rise in 2017, perhaps as high as 4%, so this new year is definitely a good time to review your finances and work out whether you can make any changes to save money on your household bills.

“Simply looking at your outgoings to make sure you’re not overpaying on bills like energy or insurance can make a big difference, while switching your credit card could help you save money on interest payments each month, and in turn, hopefully lessen some of the burden.”

These fears of rising living costs were reflected in findings from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) released yesterday, which showed that deflation in shop prices decelerated to 1.4% in December, compared to 1.7% in the previous two months.

Food deflation decelerated marginally to 0.7% in December compared to 0.8% in November, while non-food deflation fell to 1.9%, down from 2.3% seen in the previous month – the weakest deflation rate since June 2015.

BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson OBE, said: “We’ve said for some time that we expect to see underlying inflationary pressures, notably from the post-referendum fall in the value of the pound, feed through into shop prices.

“It’s too early to confirm that this is what we’re seeing in December’s figures: timings of seasonal discounts can cause monthly fluctuations at this time of year and retailers have continued to find ways to mitigate the impact on consumers.

“However, we expect the general trend in inflation to be upwards over 2017. The magnitude of the exchange rate movement and commodity price rises combined with the increasing costs of doing business means that retailers will have little choice other than to pass on some of these rising costs into prices, but the effect will be lessened by the intensity of competition.”