Overlay

A third of young Brits don’t feel financially secure

A new survey from NatWest has found that just over a third (31%) of young Brits (aged 18-24) don’t feel financially secure in the current Covid-19 climate.

When asked if they felt financially secure, have enough money to live comfortably and afford essential payments (e.g. groceries, utility bills, mortgage and rent payments), 31% of 18-24-year-olds surveyed said that they did not feel financially secure. Equally, 31% of 25-34-year-olds felt in a similar position. 

Despite feeling financially insecure, just over half (53%) of 18-24-year-olds surveyed said that they would feel embarrassed having to ask their parents or close family member to borrow any amount of money.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has brought additional concerns as the findings, commissioned by NatWest through YouGov, also revealed younger generations are more likely to feel the pressure to misrepresent their financial position. A quarter (26%) of those aged 18-24 in the survey said they have made themselves appear more financially secure to their family/friends. 

Worryingly, the younger generation is the most likely to experience impacts on their mental health with a third (31%) of those aged 18-24 saying they ‘often’ feel anxious or depressed when they think about their financial situation. And almost half (48%) said they don’t speak to family about their finances in fear of being judged.

While money worries are rife amongst younger audiences, the new research has also identified increasing issues with money management among all British adults:

  • Nearly 1 in 10 (8%) of those surveyed said they only check their bank account once a month 
  • Almost two-thirds (59%) of those surveyed said they would feel embarrassed having to ask to borrow any amount money from family
  • Nearly two-fifths (38%) of those who feel uncomfortable talking about finances with their family said they wouldn’t talk to family about their finances because they wouldn’t want to cause worry. While just over a third of these adults (33%) said they don’t talk to family about their money as they didn’t want to feel judged by loved ones
  • Just under a quarter of Brits (24%) often feel anxious or depressed when they think about their finances

As the next generation continues to get to grips with the changing landscape of Covid-19, parents are becoming increasingly worried about their children’s welfare with a third (32%) of 45-54-year-olds surveyed stating that they think their children are not or will not be financially secure when they are responsible for their own finances. 

The research comes as NatWest launches its new Financial Flex campaign that will encourage Brits – especially younger generations – to start talking more openly and honestly about their finances to combat growing worries around money. Through a NatWest Financial Health Check, anyone, whether a customer or not, can get free advice on how to manage their money better. 

In light of the new research and insight on the impact of increased money worries on mental health, psychotherapist Kelly Hearn, a Columbia Business School alumni, accredited UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) member and the Co-Founder of Examined Life, reviewed the findings. 

She said: “Financial anxiety is high and increasing in this pandemic year, particularly among young adults. Money worries can lead to enormous shame and so are difficult to discuss. They cut straight to issues of self-worth and feelings of ‘not enough.’  Often people suffer in silence which only compounds the issue. A vicious cycle emerges where financial stress causes mental stress which affects physical health as well, particularly when coping mechanisms like binge drinking or eating are enacted.  Financial anxieties affect most of us and yet are rarely discussed.  It is time to address the taboo subject of money more openly as financial wellbeing is an important pillar of mental and physical health.”

Financial Wellness Coach, Bola Sol, who is working with NatWest to raise awareness of the campaign among her audience, is also encouraging people to get talking about money more. 

She said: "The people who care about you are not there to judge you, they love you and care about all aspects of your life including your financial journey. Talk to them about your money situation, we talk about everything else. The topic of money isn’t always an easy discussion but it’s one worth having."

David Lindberg, CEO, Retail Banking at NatWest said:

“We know the really significant impact that covid-19 has had on the finances of young people – something that can be made even more difficult if they don’t feel like they have someone that they can turn to in order to get help or support. We’re encouraging people not to hide away from their financial worries and to be open about their situation. We introduced the bespoke Financial Health Check, over video, or phone, to make it easier for people to discuss their finances in a practical and supportive way.” 

The free financial health check service is a review with one of NatWest’s highly trained senior personal bankers, over the phone or face-to-face. During the appointment, they’ll consider all areas of finances to help customers make the best decisions about what they feel is right for them. To book or for more information, visit: personal.natwest.com/personal/financial-health-check

NatWest also offers free video banking, where you can speak face to face with a qualified banker, without having to go into a branch. To find out more about Video Banking go to: personal.natwest.com/personal/banking-with-natwest/other-ways-to-bank-with-natwest/natwest-video-banking-service