- Aviva’s research into how personal finance issues have been exacerbated during lockdown reveals significant strain on mental health
- More than half (55%) of adults aged between 45-54 agreed they are more worried about their financial situation now than before lockdown
- 2 in 5 people (38%) are having trouble sleeping because of financial worries
- 1 in 6 (16%) say that their adult children have become more financially dependent on them
- However, the majority (60%) who have discussed their financial concerns with friends and family feel better for it
Almost a third (30%)1 of UK adults aged between 45-54 are concerned that the financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic is negatively impacting their mental health, according to the latest research by Aviva.
The research into how personal finance issues have been exacerbated during lockdown, reveals that the ‘sandwich generation’ (45-54 age group) are shouldering the heaviest financial burden as a result of the pandemic. More than half of this age group (55%) are more worried about their financial situation now than before lockdown, and 1 in 6 (16%) say that their adult children have become more financially dependent on them as a result of the Covid-19 – the highest of any age group.
The high levels of concern among this age group are negatively impacting many. Along with mental health problems, almost 2 in 5 (38%) are having trouble sleeping, 19% are experiencing physical health problems, and 13% say that it is causing problems with their family relationships – highlighting the importance of supporting people to take proactive steps to improve their financial position.
Chart 1: What negative impacts, if any, are you worried about your financial situation having on you?
Causing trouble sleeping
Causing mental health problems
Causing physical health problems (e.g. over-eating, not exercising)
Causing problems with family relationships
Reducing your output/productivity at work
Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
Causing problems with friendships
Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva, comments: “The economic impact of Coronavirus has been laid bare and our research has revealed the significant mental health impact that the financial concerns have caused. While no one is immune to the knock-on effects that the economic downturn will have – the impact on the mental health on the squeezed middle is far-reaching. Too often this generation finds themselves shouldering their own financial burden, and at least part of their children’s, and it’s vital that more support is offered to them.
“This means millions are acting alone, hoping for the best. We believe that part of being a responsible employer is about looking after the wellbeing of your employees, which is why Aviva has introduced a national Mid-Life MOT programme which helps people to embrace opportunities by encouraging them to consider their wealth, work and wellbeing needs from the age of 45 and plan for their futures.
“Beyond this, we are committed to helping deliver better help and support for our customers and want to work with the government and regulators to make sure that suitable advice is accessible and affordable for the majority, within a properly regulated framework.”
Aviva’s research also revealed that the majority (60%) of mid-life adults who discussed their finances with a family member or close friend feel better for having discussed it – highlighting how important it is to encourage people to be more open with their loved ones about their finances.
Over half (53%) agreed that they feel closer to their family and friends as a result of opening up, 49% now feel less embarrassed or inhibited when talking about money, and 48% have learnt about new options for their finances having had a conversation.
Alistair McQueen, continues: “Having open and frank conversations with family and friends is the first step to improving your financial situation, however too often these conversations are avoided or put off all together. Speaking about your financial concerns can lighten your load, reduce the stigma, and encourage the sharing of advice and guidance.
"They say that a problem shared is a problem halved – and that’s certainly the case when it comes to your finances."
Aviva’s top-tips for improving mental health caused by financial concerns
- Take time out: Striking the balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself can reduce stress levels, so tell yourself it’s okay to take some time to prioritise your self-care.
- Share your worries: Suffering alone adds to the pressure. Share the situation with friends or family if you can. Even if they can’t help, just talking to someone could help you see the problem with a clearer focus. The Money Advice Service offers a helpful guide on how best to open up and talk about money.
- Take control on your own or with the help of a financial adviser: If you are able to, accessing regulated financial advice will give you more confidence to plan your financial future.
- Be mindful: Mindfulness is a mind-body approach to life that helps us to relate differently to experiences. It involves paying attention to our thoughts and feelings in a way that increases our ability to manage difficult situations and make wise choices.
- Understand your current savings and projected retirement fund: Identifying how much your exact level of current savings and monthly saving contributions will leave you with in retirement can help you adapt your long-term financial goals. Visit the Aviva website to access our retirement planner.
- Don’t be too hard on yourself: Remember, there is no right way to do anything, and it’s unhelpful to compare yourself to others. Try to keep things in perspective and take a few minutes each day to appreciate yourself.
1Research of 2,000 UK consumers conducted on behalf of Aviva by Censuswide, August 2020. Of which there are 301 respondents aged 45-54. All statistics in this release relate to this research focused on 45-54 year olds. Statements where respondents agree, based on those who strongly agree and somewhat agree with the statement.
Notes to editors:
- For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit: www.aviva.com/covid-19-our-response/
- We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2020, we paid £30.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
- Aviva is invested in our people, our customers, our communities and our planet. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a Net Zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the most demanding target of any major insurance company in the world. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. Aviva has been leading this agenda for decades: Aviva was the first international insurer to go operationally carbon neutral in 2006 and we are champions of renewable energy and energy storage at our offices, allowing us to achieve our 2030 carbon reduction target (70% reduction on 2010 levels) 10 years early. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition at www.aviva.com/sustainability.
- Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at www.aviva.com/social-purpose
- We are focused on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading market positions and significant potential. We will invest for growth in these markets. We will also transform our performance and improve our efficiency. Our transformation will be underpinned by managing our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience. We also have strategic investments in Singapore, China and India.
- Total group assets under management at Aviva group as at 31 December 2020 are £535 billion and our Solvency II shareholder capital surplus is £12.5 billion as at 31 March 2021. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
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