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Twice as many Brits expect their financial situation to get worse rather than better in 2020

New polling reveals a sense of financial pessimism and a reluctance to talk about money worries 

23 October 2019

Almost one in three Brits (29%) expect their finances to get worse in the next year, while only 14% believe their financial situation will improve according to a new YouGov poll for StepChange Debt Charity.

Of those expecting to be worse off, 38% cited uncertainty in the wider economy as the cause, something that should sound alarm bells for policymakers, particularly given a record 331,337 people contacted StepChange for help with their debts in just the first six months of 2019.

The release of this data coincides with the launch of StepChange’s “We Hear You” campaign, which is encouraging people who may be suffering in silence with their finances to get help via its free and confidential online debt advice service.

The polling shows people are split on how they deal with money problems. Nearly two in five respondents (38%) said they would want to deal with financial difficulties privately, with only half (52%) saying they would talk to their partner or family about them. Men are also more reluctant than women to share their financial worries, with 42% preferring to deal with them privately, compared to 34% of women.

Those who expressed a preference to deal with their financial worries privately also showed a greater reluctance to discuss money with their partner or close family members, with 45% ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ broaching the subject, compared to 30% of all respondents.

The poll also highlights the varied ways Brits deal with life problems. While some people prefer the idea of face-to-face or telephone advice, others prefer the idea of online services if they are facing a problem. A third of people said they would feel “most comfortable” seeking general advice through an online service, rising to 42% among those aged under 50. Clearly, within the debt advice sector there is a place for all these different ways of providing advice – and it’s particularly important that those who find it hard to talk are aware they can find help online.

Richard Lane, Director of External Affairs at StepChange Debt Charity, said:

“The number of people seeking debt advice from StepChange is growing every year, but we understand that the way individuals prefer to get help varies.

“We know that for some, money can be a tricky thing to discuss. Online debt advice allows individuals to tackle their money problems discreetly and efficiently – an absolute necessity in the digital age. The more people who can access debt advice in the way that feels easiest for them, the quicker we can reduce the number of people facing problem debt.

“Debt is a problem which can affect each and every one of us, so it’s only right that the services to tackle debt should therefore be accessible to all. If you find it difficult to talk about debt, don’t worry, we hear you – and we’re here to help.”

Notes to editors

  1. StepChange Debt Charity commissioned YouGov to survey GB adults on how they were currently feeling about their financial situation, and their habits when seeking advice. The poll was based on 1868 GB adults, with fieldwork undertaken online between 13 – 14 October 2019.
  2. StepChange’s “We Hear You” campaign aims to highlight the availability of online debt advice through its website, to ensure that more people who need debt advice are able to find it in a way that works for them. If you are interested in materials to compliment the campaign, please see here.
  3. StepChange are currently experiencing problems with “clone firms,” who attempt to pass themselves off as the charity, in order to generate leads for other organisations. If including a link to StepChange’s website, please ensure you use the correct URL: stepchange.org, and encourage readers to do the same.

About StepChange Debt Charity

StepChange Debt Charity is the UK’s largest debt advice charity, contacted by around 600,000 people a year and providing free, full, independent debt advice to more than 300,000.

Founded in 1993, StepChange supports people experiencing debt problems through telephone and online services, and campaigns for change to reduce the harm and stigma associated with debt.

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