UK Is A Nation of Financial Ostriches

UK Is A Nation of Financial Ostriches

Brits have their heads stuck firmly in the sand when it comes to the state of their finances, according to new research from Barclays.

We are a nation suffering from chronic Banxiety (putting off or refusing to open bank statements) with over one third (36%) of those that receive paper statements admitting to doing this, and almost half (45%) unable to say how much money is in their main account.

It’s particularly prevalent amongst the younger generation. It seems checking bank statements is on a par with going the dentist: more than half 55% of 18-24 year olds that receive paper statements admit to putting off opening their statements, compared with a national average of 48% for avoiding booking dentist appointments.

With almost a fifth (18%) just too scared to take a peek at their bank statements, we could be heading to the shops with no idea of how much we have to spend.

Many have been caught out spending in blissful ignorance, with 30% of UK adults having gone to pay for something and not being certain they have enough funds in their account, with women slightly guiltier than men of having shopped without knowing if their transaction will go through (33% versus 28%).

There is also a national divide when it comes to our fear of finances. Londoners appear to suffer least, with only 25% putting off checking their statements, whereas 44% of people in Scotland admit to leaving their statements unopened on the sideboard.

But why do we all have such an aversion to checking our personal finances?

18% are afraid/anxious about looking
7% don't like seeing where the money's gone
One in ten (9%) can't be bothered to look
7% like to pretend their finances are fine
12% are too busy
7% are constantly in their overdraft and don't like being reminded

The current economic climate is also taking its toll, with 13% admitting they are more likely to put off looking at their statements now than they were five years ago pre-recession.

Commenting on the findings, Dan Wass, Barclays managing director of current accounts, said: "We’ve all been guilty at some point of sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to our finances. No-one really wants to know they don’t have enough money for something they’ve spotted in the shops do they?

"While the research may reveal that Banxiety is more common amongst the younger generation, luckily, there are some pretty quick and easy cures.

"Services such as mobile banking apps, SMS balance and limit alerts to keep people in touch with their bank balance at any time will help remove the dread-factor and reduce the nation’s symptoms."

Top tips to combat banxiety

Some ostrich trivia: Did you know ostriches don't need to drink? They can make their own water internally and top up with what they can extract from vegetation. Sadly we can’t make money the way ostriches make water so here are some tips to keep on top of your nest eggs...

Stay alert: text alerts straight to your mobile are a fail-safe way to stay abreast of your finances. Sign up to the free Barclays text alert service which will tell you when you’re near your limit or have received/paid out a large amount of money.

Don’t wing it, Pingit: owe your mates for the other night? Need to pay for something super quick? Pingit is a great way to pay for things quickly, securely and free of charge. You don’t even need a smartphone - just a mobile number.

Don’t worry, be appy: get the Barclays mobile app (free to Barclays customers), allowing you to access your finances any time and on the go.

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