Financial stress and mental health statistics UK

We look at how financial stress is affecting Brits, including the impact on mental health.

The high cost of living is impacting people all over the UK and our financial situation, including how much disposable income we have in our bank accounts, can have a knock-on effect on our wellbeing.

We look at the latest statistics on financial stress, including findings from our survey, to see how Brits are coping and the impact on our mental health.

Financial stress statistics: Highlights

  • 7 in 10 Brits (70%) have experienced financial stress, which is around 40 million people.
  • 3 in 10 Brits (30%) have issues with sleep as a result of financial stress.
  • Over 80% of millennials and generation Z have experienced financial stress in the past year, compared to 30% of the silent generation.
  • Three-quarters of women (75%) have experienced financial stress in the past year compared to 64% of men.
  • 1 in 5 people (18%) with mental health problems are in problem debt.
  • 4 in 10 people with a mental health problem say their mental health has worsened as a result of financial stress.
  • Financial pressure is the top cause of stress in the UK outside of work.

Financial stress in the UK

7 in 10 adults in the UK (70%) had experienced financial stress or money worries in the past year, according to a survey by Finder carried out in October 2023. This equates to around 40 million people. Women are more likely to experience financial stress, with 75% having money worries compared to 64% of men.

Financial stress and mental health

Almost a third of adults in the UK (31%) say that money worries have impacted their mental health over the past year, which is more than 16 million Brits. Mental health is the area most likely to be impacted by financial stress, according to our survey.

Research by Money and Mental Health found that almost 1 in 5 people (18%) with mental health problems are in problem debt. It also found that 4 in 10 people (39%) with a mental health problem said that their financial situation had worsened their mental health.

Sleep is the second most common area to be negatively impacted by financial stress, and this affects 3 in 10 people (30%). Brits’ social lives are also likely to be affected by financial stress, with more than one-fifth (22%) citing this as an area that is negatively influenced.

Other common areas that are negatively impacted include energy levels (21%), physical health (17%) and self-esteem (16%). Work performance is the factor least likely to be impacted by financial stress, affecting just 8% of people.

Area impacted Percentage
Mental health 31.35%
Sleep 29.60%
Social life 22.05%
Energy levels 20.65%
Physical health 16.85%
Self-esteem 16.30%
Diet 15.15%
Personal relationships 12.15%
Work performance 8.05%

Which generation is most impacted by financial stress?

Younger generations are far more likely to be affected by financial stress, with 84% of generation Z (aged 18-23) and 83% of millennials (aged 24-42) experiencing it over the past year. These age groups are earlier in their careers and are more likely to be saving for a house deposit or other expensive life events, with some also looking to start a family.

Generation X (aged 43-54) is not far behind their younger counterparts, however, with more than three-quarters (78%) experiencing financial stress. Some members of this generation are likely to still be supporting children, perhaps as well as ageing parents, which could contribute to their financial stress, as well as mortgage payments.

Baby boomers (aged 55-73) are less likely to be impacted by financial stress, with just over half (55%) disclosing an experience of money worries. The financial concerns for this generation are likely to be related to retirement and having a good income after stopping work.

Less than a third of the silent generation (30%) admitted to having experienced financial stress, which is perhaps unsurprising as this generation is the most likely to be financially settled – owning property and having accumulated savings.

Generation Percentage experiencing financial stress
Gen Z 83.80%
Millenials 83.13%
Gen X 78.24%
Baby boomers 54.59%
Silent generation 29.66%

Interestingly, generation X are most likely to have their mental health and sleep affected by money worries. 41% of those aged 43-54 had financial stress negatively impacting their mental health, while 39% had it negatively impacting their sleep.

Millennials were the generation most likely to have their social life affected by money worries, with almost a third (31%) citing this as an area that was negatively impacted by anxiety about finances.

Which region is most worried about money?

Residents in Northern Ireland are most likely to have experienced financial stress over the past year, affecting 82% of people in this region. They are closely followed by Londoners, as 8 in 10 (81%) have been impacted by money worries, perhaps not surprising when the cost of living in the capital is so high.

People living in Wales appear to be in the best position for financial wellbeing according to our survey, as only 62% were negatively impacted by money worries, compared to the national average of 70%.

Those in Yorkshire also had lower levels of financial stress compared to the national average, with 63% experiencing money worries in the past year.

Region Percentage experiencing financial stress
Northern Ireland 82.00%
Greater London 80.99%
East of England 72.49%
North East 69.14%
Scotland 68.86%
South East 68.23%
North West 68%
South West 67.24%
East Midlands 66%
West Midlands 66.29%
Yorkshire and the Humber 62.80%
Wales 61.70%

Methodology

Finder commissioned Censuswide to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain between 29 September and 2 October 2023, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

Sources

  • Finder survey
  • Money and Mental Health
  • Money & Pensions Service
  • Champion Health

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 3828 1338
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2
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Matthew Boyle is a banking and mortgages publisher at Finder. He has a 7-year history of publishing helpful guides to assist consumers in making better decisions. In his spare time, you will find him walking in the Norfolk countryside admiring the local wildlife. See full bio

Matthew's expertise
Matthew has written 244 Finder guides across topics including:
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Sophie Barber is a content marketing manager for Finder in the UK after previously working as a content manager at a digital marketing agency. She has over 5 years experience in writing and publishing clear, concise and informative online articles for a variety of websites. See full bio

Sophie's expertise
Sophie has written 66 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Publishing original personal finance research
  • Creating data-led statistics pages to highlight industry trends
  • Cost of living and money saving tips

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