Interactive Investor

Data highlights how money worries wreak havoc on mental health

22nd February 2023 10:19

by Myron Jobson from interactive investor

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interactive investor comments on the ONS debt and well-being survey.

Mental health 600

Commenting, Myron Jobson, Senior Personal Finance Analyst, interactive investor, says: “Our finances are intrinsically tied to our sense of well-being, and while money doesn’t buy you happiness, money worries can have a significant impact on mental health.

“It is telling that of the more than one in 10 adults who said they found paying energy bills ‘very difficult’ between September last year and January, more than half experienced high levels of anxiety. It is a similar story when it comes to other household bills such as rent and mortgage, official figures show. Borrowing can trigger or worsen conditions such as anxiety, depression and stress.

“These figures clearly illustrate the devastating impact money worries can have on mental health. Living under the cloud of money woes can leave anyone feeling the strain, and can make it harder to think about your finances and find solutions to money problems you may find yourself in.

“While inflation is cooling, we are not out of the woods yet. As such, keeping on top of your financial well-being remains important. This might translate to doing an emergency budget, cutting down on non-essential spending and squirrelling away more money into a rainy-day fund if you can afford to do so. Be realistic and make sure your spending plan is achievable.

“Those struggling to keep on top of their finances needn’t suffer in silence – there is support out there. Energy companies have schemes to help people who are struggling to afford their bills. The key is to act swiftly and contact creditors for more support. It is worth consulting a debt advice charity such as StepChange or Turn2Us and they will go through all your options.”

Key points:

  • The ONS survey found that more than one in 10 (12%) adults responsible for paying energy bills reported finding it “very difficult' to afford their energy bills. Of those who found paying energy bills “very difficult”, 51% reported high levels of anxiety. This compares with 22% of those who found affording these bills “very easy”.  
  • Affording rent or mortgage payments was “very difficult” for 7% of adults who pay them. Of this group, half (51%) reported high levels of anxiety, compared with 29% of those who found it “very easy” to afford rent or mortgage payments. 
  • Most recently, 6% of adults reported being behind on their gas or electricity bill payments. Half this group (49%) reported high levels of anxiety, compared with only 33% of those who were not in arrears. Overall levels of life satisfaction were lower among those behind on their bills, too, with 28% reporting low life satisfaction, compared with only 9% of those who were not in arrears.
  • Adults who reported borrowing more money or using more credit than usual, were twice as likely to report low levels of happiness as those who had not done so (22% compared with 11%). They were also more likely to report high levels of anxiety compared with those who were not borrowing more: 35% compared with 31%.

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