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.
* 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.