‘Financial Apathy’ Is Costing Millions in Lost Money and Creating a Mental Health Time Bomb
Research from one of Britain’s banks suggests over six-and-a-half million people in the UK are wasting billions of pounds every year on regular payments that should be cancelled. Money worries are also the top source of stress for 15% of young adults.
Digital banking service B’s independent research shows 1 in 8 (13%) people in the UK have monthly payments coming out of their accounts for unused services like gym memberships or subscriptions to services they no longer use. A third (31%) admit they can’t be bothered to cancel these, while most others say they’re either too busy (26%) or there is a technology issue (24%) stopping them from doing so.
The problem is even greater for millennials, with the poll of 2,000 adults showing a fifth of 18-34-year olds with a bank account are letting unused payments leave their accounts every month. In spite of this apathy, worrying about money is main source of anxiety for this age group.
Helen Page, Group Innovation Director at B – powered by the Clydesdale Yorkshire Banks – commented: “There is an epidemic of financial apathy in the UK. The misconception is that it is time consuming and difficult to either stop automatic payments you don’t need or to switch to a different bank account. This is simply untrue – it is possible to apply to switch accounts and stop unnecessary payments in less than twenty minutes and the entire process can be done online.”
The survey also found 17% of people are uncomfortable revealing their monthly expenditure to their partners and money is main reason for marital arguments for almost a quarter of Britons. In fact, 6% of people say they are running out of money every month and 13% of those in full-time employment are hoping to win the national lottery in order to get themselves out of financial dire straits.
Worse still, one in nine (11%) of those running out of money every month admit they’ve gone without food at least once in the last 12 months to tide them over until the next payday. While 15% say they’ve not had enough money to pay their mortgage, rent, loan or credit card bills on at least one occasion in the last year. 5% of those in full-time employment regularly ignore their bank statements in a bid to ignore their financial reality.
Page continued: “When we look at younger people they are grappling with pressures such as social media – just under 15% of adults under 34 admit they are spending beyond their means in order to maintain an ‘Instagrammable life’. Add to this the reality that half of those in this age group regularly borrow money from parents to tide them over until payday, and a picture emerges of delayed adulthood which has serious implications on emotional wellbeing. It’s of great importance that we recognize the benefits of financial fitness.
“Technology such as the artificial intelligence in our B banking app helps alert people to where they can save money and not run into difficulty – but in addition to clever technology we need a cultural change in how we educate our children and young adults. More than many things in adult life, we need to take positive action to get away from financial apathy as that ultimately leads to stress. The good news is banks are waking up to this and some of us are making it much easier to change bad financial habits.”
Survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of B. A total of 2000 UK adults were surveyed between Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th October, 2017.