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09/07/2018

R3’s UK personal finances bulletin – July 2018

A third (34%) of British adults are at least fairly worried about their current level of debt, while the same proportion (34%) say they sometimes or often struggle to make it to payday, says insolvency and restructuring trade body R3.

The figures, from the latest in the long-running R3/ComRes surveys of over 2,000 British adults’ personal debt concerns, give an insight into the current position of the country’s personal finances.

Data from the survey are available from R3 on request.

Among concerns about credit card debt, worries felt by those renting, and increasing problems with basics like the cost of food, the latest Personal Debt Snapshot found that:

A Third Have Debt Worries

  • 34% of British adults say they are at least fairly worried about their current level of debt – a fall from the two latest surveys in August and February 2017 (both 41%). This level of concern is lower than in previous surveys in September 2016 (38%) and June 2016 (37%).
     
  • Almost half (47%) of adults aged 25-34 are at least fairly worried about their current level of debt – more than any other age group (lowest: over-65s, 17%).
     
  • Renters (49%) are almost twice as likely to be at least fairly worried about their current level of debt as home-owners (26%).
     
  • Of the types of debt tested, credit card debt remains by far the most frequently reported cause for concern among British adults who say they are at least fairly worried about their current level of debt, with half (49%) saying it worries them (similar to the 50% in August 2017).
     
  • Credit card worries are followed by worries about overdrafts (20% – no change from August 2017), bank loans (15% – down from 18%), mortgage repayments (15% – in line with August 2017, 16%), and student loans (11% – in line with the 13% in the previous wave) – again amongst British adults who are worried about their current level of debt.

Saving, Borrowing, Missed Payments and Falling Optimism

  • 19% of British adults say they do not have any savings at all at the moment (compared to 24% in August 2017 and 22% in February 2017).
     
  • 33% of renters say they do not have any savings at all at the moment (down from 40% in August 2017), compared to 12% of homeowners (down from 16% in August 2017).
     
  • 21% of British adults think their personal financial situation will improve in the next six months (in line with 22% in August 2017) – which is still higher than the 14% who think their personal finance situation will get worse in the next six months (down from 19% in August 2017).
     
  • Younger British adults are most optimistic about their personal finances (29% of 18-24 year olds and 28% of 25-34 year olds think their personal finances will improve in the next six months compared to 16% of those aged 55+).
     
  • However, British adults aged 18-44 and 25-44 are also more likely to be pessimistic about their future finances (16% and 17% think that their personal financial situation will worsen over the next 6 months respectively, compared to 12% of those aged 55+).
     
  • 6% of British adults are only paying the interest off on their credit card and not reducing the original debt itself (similar to the 8% in August 2017).
     
  • 6% of British adults have borrowed £100 or more from friends or family in the last month (similar to the 8% in August 2017).
     
  • 4% of British adults have missed a debt repayment deadline in the past month (no change from August 2017).

Struggles to Payday

  • 34% of British adults say they often or sometimes struggle to make it to payday, down from 40% in August 2017. Table:
     
  • Survey % of British adults who say they often
    or sometimes struggle to payday
    April 2018 34%
    August 2017 40%
    February 2017 40%
    September 2016 38%
    June 2016 39%
    January 2016 36%
    August 2015 38%
    March 2015 41%
    November 2014 40%
    July 2014 39%
  • Struggles to payday are most common in the North East (47%), followed by London (41%).
     
  • Renters (52%) are twice as likely as homeowners (24%) to say they often or sometimes struggle to payday.
     
  • The most common cause for struggling to payday is the cost of food (cited by 53% of those who often or sometimes struggle to make it to payday), followed by: household energy costs (39%); fuel or transport costs (28%); credit card repayments (27%); paying for rent (26%); and spending on going out or non-essentials (24%). Mortgage repayments are cited by only 9% of British adults as a reason for why they often or sometimes struggle to payday.
     
  • British adults aged 18-24 (35%) and 25-34 (37%) are the most likely to say they struggle to payday because of rent payments
     
  • Rent payments are the most commonly cited reason for struggling to payday in London (46%) - along with household energy costs (45%) and the cost of food (41%) - compared to 5th for Britain as a whole (26%).

 

ComRes interviewed 2,004 British adults online between the 18th and 19th April 2018. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of all British adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com.

 

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 www.r3.org.uk 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.