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British public claim to be on top of their finances – R3

80% of British adults say they check their current account balance at least every week, while 47% claim to budget at least monthly, according to the new research from insolvency trade body R3 and ComRes.
The research, the latest wave in a long-running survey of over 2,000 British adults, finds the majority of British adults on top of financial planning and awareness.
However, the survey also reveals that around a fifth of British adults, hit borrowing limits, pay bills late and do not make a budget.
Phillip Sykes, President of R3, says: “Smart phones and online banking have made it much easier for people to keep on top of their finances. This does make it easier to prevent spending from getting out of control. There is a big difference, however, between making budgets and sticking to them.”
“Financial planning and awareness of the health of your finances are simple steps to take to steer clear of unsustainable debt or financial worries.”
“It’s important to be proactive, too. People are more likely to plan or check their finances when they are already in difficulty. It’s better to take preventative steps and stay out of debt in the first place.”
The survey shows that 42% of British adults who are extremely worried about their debts make a budget at least weekly compared to just 16% of those without debt worries.
85% of British adults who are extremely worried about their debts check their balances weekly, compared to 79% of people with no debt worries.
The survey found that:
  • 54% of Britons check their current account balance every week; 26% check every day;
  • 30% of Britons go through their recent spending by checking receipts every week; 28% check every month;
  • 28% of Britons consult an independent financial adviser;
  • 24% of Britons shop around for different financial products at least a few times a year;
  •  17% of Britons make a budget weekly; 26% make a budget monthly, while 21% never make a budget for their household finances.
The survey also found that:
  • 25% of Britons have ever hit the overdraft limit on their current account in the last 12 months
  • 23% of Britons have ever received a penalty charge for late payment of a bill in the last 12 months
  • 19% of Britons have ever reached the borrowing limit on a credit card in the last 12 months
Other findings from the survey include:
  • Women (81%) are more likely than men (76%) to have ever made a budget for their household finances
  • Women (33%) are less likely to have ever put money aside for retirement than men (38%) or to have put money aside for a rainy day (women: 67%; men: 72%);
  • 89% of those aged 55+ have never reached the overdraft limit on one of their current accounts, while 65% of those aged 18-44 have never reached their limit;
  • 91% of those aged 55+ have never reached the borrowing limit on a credit card compared to 73% of those aged 18-44;
  • 88% of those aged 55+ have never received a late payment charge for a bill compared to 68% of 18-44 year olds;
  • Those aged 18-24 (76%) and 65+ (72%) are the least likely to say they ever make a budget for their household finances (35-44 year olds are most likely to ever budget for this: 85%).
Phillip Sykes says: “Younger people are more likely to hit borrowing limits, but they are not particularly worse than others when it comes to planning. This is down to two factors: on the one hand, younger people have less financial room for manoeuvre than older generations do; and on the other, they tend to have a more relaxed attitude to debt. Getting into debt seems to be part and parcel for financial planning for younger generations.” 

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.