The cost of debt is much higher than you think

05 March 2008 / by Joy Tibbs
Many people in the UK are wasting years of their lives worrying about out-of-control debts, according to the Co-operative Bank. It found that Brits collectively spend 13 billion hours a year worrying about their borrowing levels.

This is roughly equivalent to an average of two years (or 16,848 hours) per person over a lifetime, or 730 sleepless nights, that are spent worrying about personal borrowing and spending levels.

Savings product manager at the Co-operative, Scott McPhail, says: “It is worryingly clear from the research that the vast majority of UK adults are deeply concerned about their finances, with rising levels of debt and inadequate saving provisions responsible for countless sleepless nights nationwide."

The bank's research found that 48 per cent of respondents are either 'concerned or deeply concerned’ about their escalating debt problems, while 80 per cent are ‘troubled’ about their lack of savings.

According to the survey, the least worried region in the UK is Northern Ireland, although 69 per cent of people in the area claimed to be feeling ‘stressed or very stressed’ about their financial situation. Meanwhile, the North West contains the highest proportion of worriers, with 78 per cent harbouring money worries.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, university students, recent graduates and other 18 to 30-year-olds spend almost two days a month worrying about their finances, with almost half spending 10 hours or more each week struggling to get to grips with their finances. Meanwhile, those aged 55 and over spent the least time stressing about money matters, with approximately 90 per cent spending just 2.5 hours a week sorting them out.

The research also found that people are not taking full advantage of the savings products they hold, despite the fact that 71 per cent of respondents have at least one savings product. For example, many people with ISAs are not using their full tax-free allowance.

“It’s never too late to regain control of your finances - taking full advantage of your tax-free savings allowance before April and investing as little as a pound in a cash ISA is one way that you can help to ease the strain,” says Mr McPhail.

© Fair Investment Company Ltd