Three quarters of Brits are worried about their current financial situation, a new study has found.
The poll of 2,000 adults revealed almost two thirds also worry about how they will cope if they lost their job or received an unexpected bill
In the West Midlands, 17 per cent of people admitted they would struggle if they faced a long period of unpaid or statutory sick leave and 14 per cent wouldn’t be able to cope with the expense of a broken boiler. Others are concerned about how they would pay for an unexpected car repairs bill (26%), a large utility bill (21%) or even Christmas (15%), although, this is lower than the national average of 17%.
In the survey, commissioned by Salary Finance, it also emerged that 14 per cent of West Midlanders have nothing saved for an emergency whatsoever, with a further 7 per cent having less than £100 and 45 per cent have less than £1,000 in their rainy-day funds. This last statistic being higher than the national average.
Asesh Sarkar, CEO and co-founder of Salary Finance, a salary-linked benefits provider, said: “Money worries affect 40 per cent of UK employees. For those that are already living payday to payday, the idea of something unexpected happening, such as a job loss or a large bill, can be a large source of stress.
“Saving for a rainy-day fund is difficult for many people, if it wasn’t everyone would have one. However, it can really take some of the pressure off and help avoid high cost loans, especially if something does go wrong, and reduce your financial worries.”
The study found employed adults believe their savings would last them around five weeks if they were to lose their job, with around 7% of people from the West Midlands admitting they would struggle to last a week with no pay packet.
Nearly half of those polled in the region have had to rely on their savings to get them through a difficult period, with their funds seeing them through just 37 days. 26 per cent have also been caught out by a large bill and not had enough money set aside to cover it.
Worryingly, just 41 per cent of West Midlanders have a back-up plan in case they find themselves with little or no income. Instead, 12 per cent use their overdraft to get them out of trouble while 7 per cent would take out more credit cards, possibly leading to significant interest and a poor credit score. Others max out their credit cards (14%) or sell personal possessions at car boot sales or auction websites (31%). These last two statistics are in line with the national average; however, the number of people who would ask for a loan from their parents or friends is nine per cent more than the national average at 32 per cent.
But it’s not just emergencies Brits are dipping into their rainy-day fund for, with 39 per cent admitting to taking money out for luxuries such as holidays. It also emerged that 53 per cent of Brits think they need to make more effort to boost their rainy-day fund.
And 46 per cent ‘regret’ not putting more money into their emergency fund.
But while 24 per cent of those from the West Midlands polled, via OnePoll.com, would describe themselves as a ‘saver’, 18 per cent admit they are a ‘spender’, slightly higher than the national average. If they had spare money, while 33 per cent would save it for when they really needed it, 18 per cent would immediately ‘splash out’ on something they wanted. Concerningly, over a third even said they would rather enjoy their money now than save it for something which might not happen.
Asesh continued: “It’s our mission at Salary Finance to enable employers to provide products and services that improve the financial health and happiness of their employees. This survey goes further to demonstrate a great need for these types of employee benefits amongst the UK workforce.”