financial events that cause stress

What causes you the most anxiety when it comes to your money?

New research asked people to rate a variety of financial events on a stress scale, ranging from 1 to 10, to better understand the money matters that trigger feelings of anxiety.

Topping the charts was being unemployed but needing to work to pay household bills, with an average score of 8.1 out of 10.

Next in terms of financial events causing stress was home repossessions, at 7.7 out of 10, which tied with evictions.

According to the study from MoneySuperMarket, 39% of respondents said that talking about financial issues makes their heart race or causes feelings of stress.

52% admitted that thinking about finances can prompt anxiety.

Anxiety appears to be driving financial behaviour too. 29% of respondents said they checked their banking apps out of anxiety and concerns about job security. 23% were worried about not having enough cash savings to cover an emergency.

The research also found that 21% of respondents rated the pressure to afford things for their kids as a 9 or 10 out of 10 on the stress scale, with 50% seeing friends or family earning or spending more than them prompting scores of more than 5 out of 10.

The past year has been incredibly tough, from a financial perspective, for a lot of people. While some have benefited from maintaining their earnings while being forced to spend significantly less, others have experienced a substantial cut to their income.

As life starts to return to normal this year, it’s inevitable that many will feel worried about the pressure to keep up financially with their friends and family. The survey found that 52% of people are worrying about the cost of finding out with friends, giving this a stress score of more than 5 out of 10.

Sally Francis-Miles, money spokesperson at MoneySuperMarket, said:

“Money worries often cause anxiety and stress, especially in the current pandemic where entire industries have been forced to shut. There is however rarely a financial situation that is beyond help either through tweaks to cut costs, government support or from debt help charities.

“The key is regaining control of something you may feel is anything but. And this is the reason we created our money stress tool. If you know your triggers and your relationship with money, you can identify the areas you can make improvements.

“The starting point is knowing what your incomings and outgoings are. If your outgoings are more than you’ve got coming in, or very close to it, consider ways you can make pain-free savings, such as switching household bills including your energy and broadband or transferring expensive credit card debts to 0% balance transfer deals (typically for a one-off fee, this is subject to passing a credit check too).”

Professor Mark Fenton-O’Creevy of The Open University, said:

“Our research shows many of us are more worried about our finances than we might expect – something that has been made worse by the extraordinary times we’re living through. Reducing financial stress and anxiety is important because it can take a toll on your mental health. Regaining a sense of control starts with recognizing the problem and understanding the steps you need to take get back on track.

“Knowing where to get help, planning and budgeting, and understanding how to cut costs are all important. Just as important, though, is to understand your own financial habits and attitudes and where they might get in the way of reducing financial stress.

“Our survey and previous research shows that people who see money as a source of security and a protection from unexpected events are less likely to get into financial difficulties than those who see it as about power and status, as a source of freedom, or as a way of expressing love.”