As the hangovers of Christmas excesses hit, over one fifth of Brits (22%) say they feel most financially under pressure in January, according to research for TDX Group, an Equifax company.
Of all the months in the year, January is the most financially difficult, with 26% of females flagging it as a pressure point, compared to 18% of males. The build up to the big day is also a strain, with 19% of Brits citing December as when they worry most about their personal finances.
Credit cards are the type of debt people are most concerned about (cited by 20% of respondents), followed by utility bills (11%) and mortgage repayments (9%).
The survey, conducted online with Opinium, also revealed that over a fifth of respondents (21%) would find any amount of personal debt unmanageable*. The average amount of debt people consider to be unmanageable is £8,854, almost a third (30%) of the average UK salary**. Men feel more comfortable with a higher level of borrowings, on average stating £9,996 as manageable compared to £7,661 for women. People in the South East believe they can handle the largest amount of personal debt at £10,662.
Meanwhile, almost three in ten people (29%) highlighted that a mortgage of any size would be unmanageable. This was most common in Wales (38%), compared to just 22% in Yorkshire and Humberside.
Richard Haymes, Head of Financial Difficulties at TDX Group, an Equifax company, said:
“Year after year, spending pressures over the seasonal period push many to exceed their financial limits. Record high levels of personal debt in 2018, combined with so many people saying they find debt unmanageable, make this particularly concerning.
“Nonetheless, positive trends are developing. The increasing regulatory focus on expanding awareness and access to debt advice, such as the government consultations on Statutory Debt Repayment Plans and breathing space for people in debt, should help break down the social stigma around financial difficulties and enable more people to access the help they need. This will play a key role in addressing society’s debt problems in the year ahead.”
Notes to editors:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Opinium. Total sample size was 2,003. Fieldwork was undertaken 27 – 29 November 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
*Excluding a mortgage
**Based on median full-time weekly earnings of £569, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours & Earnings, published 25 October 2018.