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Britain becoming more ‘positive’ with money – but many struggle with debt



People in the UK are developing positive money habits but many have poor financial knowledge and are struggling with bills, according to a new study.

The Money Advice Service says around 9 million people are in need of urgent help managing money, while 10 million are living “on the edge“.

Its surveyed over 5,000 people and compared figures to those from a similar study in 2006.

The new research says that two out of three people asked said they are “very organised when it comes to managing money”.

It adds that people are developing positive money management skills as a result of economic hardship. For example, many are checking bank statements more carefully than they used to, with over half of adults regularly checking all incomings and outgoings to keep track of their money. Furthermore, almost nine out of 10 adults say they are saving.

However, the Money Advice Service expresses concern for the 52% of people struggling to pay their bills this year. This figure has risen from 35% in 2006. In seven years, real income per head has dropped by 6%.

The figures suggest that 18 million UK adults run out of money before each payday. Parents in particular struggle, with almost half having to cut back in the run up to payday.

The study also found that many people have poor money skills, with 16% of the population unable to read a bank statement and three in 10 unable to pick the best individual savings accounts (ISAs) for them.

Caroline Rookes, chief executive of the Money Advice Service, said, “In theory, money management is easy – spend less than you earn and consider your future, but the difficulty comes when applying this in the real world. We are all vulnerable to events around us, from a global financial crisis to a personal health issue, events that can be completely unpredictable, opening or closing a huge range of doors.

“This report reveals just how difficult it is at the moment for so many of us, but also highlights ways we are adapting to manage financially.