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More than half the working population would be ‘completely stuffed’ if they lost their job tomorrow, it emerged. Researchers who carried out a detailed study into the financial commitments of 2,000 adults revealed a worryingly high percentage are living ‘hand to mouth’ and have no savings to fall back on.
Most of those blamed the high cost of living, hefty mortgage payments and other debts for their inability to save money and safeguard their financial future.
The study also found one in ten have ‘never’ put money aside for anything, and almost one quarter claim to ‘rarely’ save money to provide a buffer if the worst comes to the worst.
One in five claimed their mortgage completely stretches them so they can’t afford to make provisions for a rainy day.
And two thirds admitted credit card debt, old student loans and car repayments are crippling them, the study by new British bank Aldermore found.
In fact, 90% of those who have no savings said they literally have nothing left after all their outgoings have been accounted for.
A third said if they lost their job they would have to ask their parents for a hand-out, and one in five would rely on a credit card to get them through a sticky patch.
A blasé one in ten said they want to enjoy their money now and not have it stashed away in a savings account.
Aldermore‘s managing director of savings, Simon Healy said:
”Having absolutely no resources is very high risk indeed.
”If one of the earners in a household were to lose their job and not be able to maintain mortgage or rent payments it would only be a matter of time before things got difficult.
”People are feeling the squeeze at the moment but even so, it would be best to calculate how much you can afford to realistically put away after you have paid all your necessary outgoings,
”Putting aside just £20 a week can tot up to £1,040 – which could be two mortgage or rental payments for the average person, which could really help if things got tight.
”Some financial experts advise on having six months’ worth of mortgage or rent payments in an emergency fund, but for many people that is simply not achievable.
”Surviving day to day on a credit card is not recommended.”
The poll also revealed that of those that do save, one in twenty have a fund of just £200 to fall back on if things got tough.
That leaves a considerable short-fall considering the average mortgage is £585.
Combined with council tax, TV licence and all the other utilities, the average household has outgoings totalling £1,105.
And 42% of adults said there is no way they could keep on top of all the outgoings if either they or their partner lost their jobs.
Worryingly, 13% said they couldn’t meet all of their financial commitments as it stands.
And a third said they do manage to pay all the bills every month, but admitted it was a struggle.
More than half said that their mortgage was by far the biggest financial strain, followed by credit cards repayments and council tax.
Even more worrying is the fact that nearly one in twenty of those that took part in the study described their job as not at all secure.
Just over half described their role as fairly secure but only 29% said it was very stable.
A third of respondents said they frequently talk to their partner about what they would do if one of them lost their job.
And three-quarters said the standard of their lifestyle is utterly dependent on their current joint income.
For that reason 18% said they never overstretch themselves.
But a more gung-ho 33% said they make their income stretch as far as possible to lead as nice a life as they can.
Simon Healy added:
”It is concerning that so many people don’t regard their job as particularly safe.
”That’s even more reason to try and set some cash aside and one of the best ways is to save into a Cash ISA as these enable you to earn interest completely tax-free. And not with our online account opening process, it’s really straight forward too.
”Most people’s rent and mortgage agreements are based on the salary they take home, so if they were to lose their job or have to change jobs and take a pay cut then it will impact considerably on the family’s finances.”