Research issued by the Money and Pensions Service during its annual Talk Money Week reveals that 55% of UK adults are not comfortable talking about their money worries. This was the central finding of a survey of 5,225 people conducted by Opinium on behalf of MAPS, and when extrapolated across the entire adult population, it suggests that some 29 million people are uncomfortable in opening up about personal financial issues.

This is despite the survey also finding that the UK adult population in general has not inconsiderable financial concerns. 48% of respondents – equivalent to around 27 million people – said they had worried about money at least once a week in the month prior to being surveyed, while 16% said they worried about money every day. In the 18-24 age group, the proportion who said they were worried on at least a weekly basis was much higher, at 71%.

When asked to give an overall assessment of whether they were worried about their current financial situation, 35% of respondents said they were concerned. This rose to 45% amongst BAME groups.

60% said that Covid-19 had increased their financial worries, but only 11% of respondents said they had opened up about Covid-related money concerns to family or friends.

The most common reasons respondents gave for wishing to keep their financial concerns to themselves were:

  • Shame / embarrassment (18%)
  • Not wanting to burden others (18%)
  • Saying they weren’t brought up that way (15%)
  • Saying it would cause additional stress or anxiety if they did so (15%)
  • Thinking they should be more successful than they are (13%)

Amongst the 18-24 age group, the ‘shame/embarrassment’ factor was cited by 26%.

Sir Hector Sants, Chair of MAPS, said:

“This year has shone a spotlight on the fundamental links between physical, mental and financial wellbeing. Yet shame and embarrassment about our financial circumstances continues to be a deep-seated barrier keeping many people from openly discussing their concerns and fears about their money. A good start is for everyone to recognise this issue and ensure there are safe spaces for people to open up about their concerns.”

Sarah Porretta, Strategy and Insights Director at MAPS, said:

“The pandemic continues to make the world an uncertain place. It is clear that the impact on people’s financial wellbeing is acute, particularly for young adults and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.

“We know that talking about money – and money worries in particular – can be hard and there are lots of reasons why people find it difficult to reach out and ask for help, and feelings of shame about money can be more common in certain communities. It’s essential to remember that you are not alone; many others are in the same boat or have experienced money worries in the past themselves. Speaking to someone, whether a family member, friend or professional, can help break the money-worry cycle, which can occur when people are concerned about having money conversations, often feeling worse for bottling up their money worries.”

Scott Robert are compliance consultants delivering solutions to regulated businesses.