23 Nov 2017 | Posted In Money advice news

Guest research from the Money Advice Service:


The Money Advice Service carried out over 3,500 online surveys to bridge the gap in financial understanding and improve engagement with millions more people in the UK at relevant moments in their lives.


Key findings:


* Almost six in ten working age adults in the UK were found to be financially struggling or squeezed.

* There are 3.2 million people in the financially ‘struggling’ and ‘squeezed’ categories who identify themselves as ‘struggling to keep up with their bills and other financial commitments’.

* Six in ten people said they did not seek help with a key financial life event they experienced. 

* It was discovered that the main reasons people didn’t seek help was that they were confident that they could handle it without help (37%) or that they didn’t think it was important (12%).

* In 10% of the key life events, people thought they needed help, but didn’t go on to seek it. Some of the key barriers to seeking help were lack of awareness, lack of trust (quality, relevance, impartiality) and low self-confidence.

* Only around half (55%) of all working-age people are aware they can get free or low cost financial support.

* It was found that the type of life event that people are going through is the biggest predictor of whether they will seek help. E.g. People are around twice as likely to seek help when buying a home or re-mortgaging (59-68%) than they are when making a major purchase (31%), such as a new car or significant home improvements.

* Other factors that significantly increase people’s likelihood to seek help are: having children in the home (e.g. Negative family event: 36% with children, 21% without children), and finding it difficult to keep up with bills (e.g. Positive work event: 32% if finding it difficult, 16% if managing).

* For many, just managing to keep on top of daily finances is a stretch. Dealing with busy lives and the complexities of major financial decisions and key life events, such as bereavement, buying a home or nearing retirement add to the pressure. 

 The main conclusion of this research is that there is a significant gap between the financial help people want and need, and the help they actually seek. More work is needed to shape financial help and support around the events people face in their lives. Financial support  needs to be integrated with other services to enhance awareness and trust, and to reduce the barriers that stop people accessing the support available.

2 comments on “Right Place Right Time – Helping people with their finances when they need it most”

  1. Some very interesting statistics.

    A question. Can MAS provide further details on the methodology of the sampling. A totally random sample? or sent to persons already known to the MAS? All areas of the UK? All income brackets? How many surveys in total were conducted and what was the % response rate? etc

    1. Hi Bob,

      Thanks for the question about the method.

      This was a survey we commissioned from a research partner, they were not people already known to MAS. 3,545 online surveys were completed between February and April 2017.

      The surveys asked people about life events they had experienced in the last year, and any they expect to face in the coming year. You can read more about the method and findings in the report PDF on the MAS website: https://masassets.blob.core.windows.net/cms/files/000/000/847/original/Right_Place__Right_Time_%281%29_%28November_2017%29.pdf

      The survey was not targeted at all UK consumers, we focused it specifically according to the segmentation we have built on financial resilience, which considers three macro-segments for the UK adult population: the cushioned, the squeezed and the struggling. You can read more about this segmentation on the MAS website: https://masassets.blob.core.windows.net/cms/files/000/000/568/original/Market_Segmentation_report_An_overview.PDF

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