More than a quarter of people (27%) have started the new year feeling uneasy about their finances, according to findings commissioned from YouGov by StepChange Debt Charity.
The findings revealed that among those who feel uneasy, two thirds (65%) have felt this way for more than a year, while 22% have carried the financial stress for more than five years, or have never felt comfortable financially.
However, this Blue Monday, StepChange is urging anyone with debt problems to seek free advice from a debt charity. The charity claimed that three months after seeking advice, four out of five StepChange clients reported that their wellbeing had improved on at least one measure, such as sleeping better or feeling more able to cope.
The findings illustrated a significant gender gap, with more men (36%) than women (28%) feeling confident about the state of their finances. The poll found that those aged between 25 and 49 are the most concerned about their financial situation, with 26% of them feeling “uneasy” financially and are unsure if they will be able to make ends meet. A further 8% are currently feeling “very uneasy” about their financial situation and know they will have to go without essentials like food or heating this year.
StepChange reported that, among the general population, 13% of people (the equivalent of 6.5 million people) claimed that at some point they have sought advice from a debt advice charity. Of those that have felt uneasy for more than a year, 24% have actively looked for advice, while 73% have not.
Despite over a quarter of people feeling financially unstable, 37% of them said they do not need advice and 13% claimed to not know where to find advice. Furthermore, 13% are embarrassed about getting advice, 8% have not found the time to seek advice, and 13% do not want their friends or family to find out.
Worryingly, 17% of GB adults who are feeling uneasy financially say they have an additional problem preventing them from getting advice.
Commenting on the findings, StepChange director of external affairs Richard Lane said: “Financial unease is common, affecting more than a quarter of us. If debt is contributing to your own Blue Monday, don’t suffer in silence – get advice. And if someone you know has debt problems, the best thing you can do is encourage them to contact a reputable, free debt advice charity for help, rather than trying to sort out their problems without expert support.”
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