Insurance company Aviva conducted surveys looking at how people’s relationship with finances evolved as they navigated the Covid-19 situation
The nation’s financial health has plummeted during the pandemic, with those aged 18 to 24 hit the hardest, according to a study.
Insurance company Aviva conducted surveys before the lockdowns hit in February 2020, with follow-ups in August and March this year, looking at how people’s relationship with finances evolved as they navigated the Covid-19 situation.
More a quarter (24 per cent) of respondents said they had made bad decisions about debt over the past 12 months with this figure rising to more than half (51 per cent) among those aged 18 to 24, dubbed “Gen-Z”.
Due to lost income, almost a third (29 per cent) had to borrow cash, while one in 10 opted to defer their mortgage or personal debt repayments.
Aviva said its research also revealed a strong correlation between the negative impact of unexpected events and financial instability on mental health. In the study, 39 per cent admitted they were struggling with their mental health and workers in the retail sector were among those hit hardest (13 per cent).
When quizzed about the state of their finances during the pandemic, 57 per cent said they were just getting by and 30 per cent said they were concerned about their money running out.
The report, released today and titled Thriving in the Age of Ambiguity, underscores the importance of greater financial education in the workplace and it calls on employers to help ensure this is in place.
One area respondents said they particularly worried about was retirement planning, with almost half (47 per cent) stating they didn’t know where to start.
Sophie Foster, 21, who was working as a barmaid and waitress before being furloughed at the start of the pandemic told i that she agrees that employers should “provide an element of financial guidance in these situations”.
She added: “Companies have a duty to look after your welfare. Check-ins every so often to make sure you are doing OK, financially and mentally, would make a world of difference for many who are struggling during this time.”
Aviva’s report suggests companies can start by introducing a workplace wellbeing strategy, with a particular focus on later-life planning and financial strategy.