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The real impact of money on our overall wellbeing revealed in ground-breaking new research

  • The Money Wellness Index from first direct is a new study to analyse the emotional health of the nation’s relationship with money 
  • Anxiety over money found to be affecting half (48%) of UK adults aged 18-55, irrespective of income
  • 46% of UK adults feel alone when it comes to managing their finances

An in-depth new study analysing the health of the nation’s relationship with money finds the UK experiencing low levels of money wellness. The new Money Wellness Index, created by first direct in partnership with YouGov is the first study to explore the current state of the nation’s relationship with money. It aims to measure and track ‘money wellness’ over time, providing insight into the factors impacting how we feel about money, and as a consequence improving this relationship.

4,000 respondents were questioned about key emotional factors designed to specifically measure how they feel about money, rather than measuring wellness based on people’s financial situation. The Index covers everything relating to attitudes towards money, from levels of confidence in managing finances, to where people go for support, and factors impacting on financial wellbeing.

Putting a figure on financial wellness

This inaugural Index shows an overall money wellness score of 47 out of 100.[1] While everyone’s relationship with money is different, this score reflects an underlying sense of negativity and uncertainty when it comes to how the nation feels about money.

“In a constantly changing world, taking time to focus on our personal wellbeing is becoming ever more important. However, while money has an intrinsic link with our emotional state of mind, money wellness is about having a healthy relationship with money and this can look different from person to person” said Joe Gordon, Head of first direct.

“Consciously and unconsciously, we’re all impacted by different factors every day, and our attitudes to money are constantly being shaped. Through this Index we hope to challenge some of the negative preconceptions people have towards money, to help encourage and empower people to have a positive money wellness mindset.”

Key findings from the Money Wellness Index:

Despite a booming £43bn wellness industry and the fact that Brits acknowledge money is a key factor in their overall wellbeing (ahead of a healthy diet, physical fitness and job satisfaction), the study found that financial wellness is not currently being prioritised.

  • Money is a major driver of anxiety:
    • Nearly half of those aged 18-55 (48%) admit to feeling anxious about money and a further third (32%)of those in this age group struggle to sleep at night as they have money on their minds
  • Feelings of isolation contributing to negative attitudes to money:
    • 46% of the UK feel on their own when it comes the managing their money
    • Over half (52%) of people in the UK would feel more positive about how they manage their money if they had a better knowledge.
    • Concerningly, only 14% of people would turn to their bank for help of guidance
  • Social media exacerbating feelings of stress around money:
    • A quarter (26%) of people admit that social media makes them feel worse about their financial situation. This is significantly more prevalent among younger people, with almost half (45%) of 18-34 year olds admitted seeing how other people live their lives on social media makes them feel worse about their money.
    • A third of people aged 18-55 (29%) are guilty of comparing themselves with others when it comes to their financial situation.
  • Mindfulness over money wellness:
    • Almost twice as many UK adults likely to prioritise practice mindfulness and meditation than look after their financial wellbeing[2]
  • Feelings of shame driving low money wellness:
    • Three in ten people (30%) reported feeling embarrassed about their financial situation

With half of UK adults 18-55 (49%) admitting they would feel better if they realised others felt the same way as they did, the Money Wellness Index will be refreshed each year, allowing first direct to track, monitor and better understand how the nation’s feelings about their money change over time.  

This Index launch is accompanied by an educational series of videos featuring real stories from people across the country about their relationship with money, with the goal of helping showing that there’s no such thing as normal when it comes to relating to money.

For the full findings and to download a copy of the Money Wellness Index from Wednesday 22nd January, visit: www.firstdirect.com/uncovered/who-we-are/money-wellness

[1] The Money Wellness Index score is based on people’s responses to 16 statements which specifically measure how people feel about money. The score has been calculated based on the average % of consumers that provided a favourable response i.e. defined by agreeing with a positive statement or disagreeing with a negative statement.

Ends

[1] 22% prioritising Mental wellbeing (e.g. practising mindfulness, meditation), 13% prioritising financial wellness

For further information please email Ben Marquand at ben.marquand@firstdirect.com or call 0113 2766700.

Notes to Editors:

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 4340 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 11th – 12th December 2019.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

About the Money Wellness Index

The Money Wellness Index measures how we feel about money as a society. The nation’s current mean money wellness score is 47 out of 100.

  • The Money Wellness Index score is based on people’s responses to 16 statements which specifically measure how people feel about money, rather than the more typical measurement of wellness based on their financial situation. The score has been calculated based on the average % of consumers that provided a favourable response i.e. defined by agreeing with a positive statement or disagreeing with a negative statement.
  • This associated score indicates that as a nation there is currently a marginal feeling of negativity and uncertainty when it comes to our relationship with money.
  • What is driving these feelings? Taking a closer look at the responses, we can highlight a series of key aspects that are bringing the overall Index score down, and can be indicated as key drivers currently affecting the nation’s feelings about money.
  • The unfavourable responses captured from the emotional factors explored in the research indicate that many people consider their overall relationship with money to be stressful, but yet believe that having more money is the key to their happiness.
  • The findings have also revealed that many people feel that they are on their own when it comes to money, and this can be seen as further exacerbating people’s concerns about their financial future.
  • Intriguingly, on average, across all 16 statements tested, 1 in 5 respondents were ‘sitting on the fence’ i.e. neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. This lack of conviction suggests that many consumers are lacking in confidence and conviction when it comes to how they assess their relationship with money. E.g. they may not be prepared to agree that they feel anxious about money but are not confident enough to reject this statement all together.

About first direct

first direct provides mobile banking, online and telephone services to its 1.49m customers and offers a full range of personal banking products including its multi-award winning current account and mortgages. It’s been recognised as being a pioneer of amazing customer service by numerous independent third parties including The Competition and Markets Authority, Which?, Moneywise, Moneyfacts and Moneysavingexpert.com. As well as its Facebook page, first direct uses social media to engage with customers through LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.

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