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Three in five people say a financial shock would impact their mental wellbeing

October 17, 2018

•Three in five (60%) UK adults say a financial shock would have a negative impact on their mental health
•More than eight in ten (83%) say they wake up at night worrying, with a fifth (19%) stating they do so more than once a week
•This comes as one in six (17%) admit they have no disposable income, a quarter (24%) have no savings and nine in ten (92%) do not have income protection cover 

Three in five (60%) UK adults say a financial shock would affect their mental wellbeing, of which a quarter (24%) say it would impact greatly, according to the Cost of  Resilience report from Zurich UK. 

Cost of Resilience report 2018Over a third (34%) of UK adults do not feel they are financially resilient and would not be able to recover easily from a financial shock or loss of income. As a result, more than a quarter (27%) do not feel positive about their future, and two-fifths (43%) do not feel in control of their life.

The report (click photo, left, to download) - which examines the impact that money, (including having products designed to protect and insure against loss,) has on feelings of resilience - also found that even prior to a financial shock taking place, adults are often concerned and lose sleep as a result. More than eight in ten (84%) find themselves waking up at night worrying, and of those, a fifth (19%) wake up more than once a week. Those who say they aren’t financially resilient are more than 50% more likely to wake in the middle of the night concerned – at least once a week – compared to those who describe themselves as financially resilient (36% vs. 55%).

How to make money last until payday, debt, and their salary not supporting both the long-term and dependents are amongst the biggest financial worries facing consumers. 

The most common worries facing UK adults:

1.My health - 37%
2.The health of my partner, family, friends etc. - 32%
3.My relationship with my partner, family and friends - 23% 
4.How to make my money last until the next time I get money - 19%
5.Debts - 17%
6.The security of my job - 10%
7.Looking after elderly relatives - 10%
8.My salary is enough to support me in the long-term - 10%
9.If my salary is enough to support me and my dependents in the long-term - 9%
10.How to afford a new home - 8%  

In addition to one in six (17%) having no disposable income and a quarter (24%) having no savings, the report developed with neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis, also uncovered a correlation between not having insurance financial safety net in place and worrying. 

Of those who state they wake up at night concerned, two-thirds (66%) do not have income protection in place, whereas of those who do have income protection, just 6% admit they wake up worrying.  

Additionally, 67% of UK adults admitted that if they were to encounter a ‘financial shock’, it would have a knock-on effect and would likely impact the stress levels of everyone in the household.

Rose St Louis of Zurich UK comments, “Our study has found that an alarming number of people are waking up at night worrying and many say a financial shock would impact their mental wellbeing. Despite this, nine in ten still do not consider protecting themselves with financial products such as Income Protection, which would replace an income in the event of not being able to work through illness or injury. We must encourage people to review their circumstances and consider the steps they can take to protect themselves in order to reduce the feeling of financial vulnerability.” 

Neuroscientist, Dr Jack Lewiscomments, “Worrying too much can negatively impact our ability to get a good night’s sleep which is vitally important because sleep gives our brains the opportunity to do a variety of essential tasks, from consolidating memories to removing toxic metabolic waste. If people regularly wake up during the night, then these functions are compromised and in the long run this is bad news for the brain. Chronic stress is potentially damaging to a person’s health even if it doesn’t affect their sleep. The stress hormone cortisol is released into the bloodstream and travels around body and brain to help release the extra energy and resources that help us to deal with the stress. Constantly worrying about finances means having chronically elevated cortisol levels, which gradually wears us down. In extreme cases, it can actually remodel certain brain areas.”

The study also found that more women than men say they wake up at night worrying (89% vs. 78%). Those aged under 25 are the least likely to wake up due to worrying, compared to any other age group. Meanwhile, those aged 55+ are the most likely age group to find themselves worrying during the night and waking up as a result (18-24 (71%), 25-34 (80%), 35-44 (87%), 45-54 (83%), 55+ (88%).  


For more: 
Nicola Cannings
Media Relations Manager
Tel:  +44 (0) 7976 037 701