Pensions - Articles - Social spending pressure is a barrier to financial security

Research carried out by Aegon reveals the biggest obstacles to people being able to plan for a financially secure future. Many people feel like their finances control their life as they are unable to respond to financial unpredictability, meet financial goals and make choices that allow them to enjoy life.

 Worryingly, and arguably as a consequence of the social media era, a large number (34%) of those surveyed said that peer pressure to lead a certain lifestyle or spend money keeping up with their friends stands in the way of their ability to look ahead and plan for future financial security.

 Research shows that the day to day burden of caring for loved ones is taking its toll on people’s ability to meet their financial goals and feel financially secure. A high proportion (25%) of those surveyed admit that a lack of support, from the Government and those around them, with childcare costs or care commitments for elderly friends and family, stands in the way of them being able to secure their financial future.

 Many of those surveyed said that they feel burdened by everyday bills and general living expenses. Over a quarter (26%) admit that they feel pressure simply keeping up with regular outgoings such as rent and bill payments, creating money worries and impacting their ability to plan ahead financially. Similarly, 27% said feeling under prepared for a financial emergency, such as an unexpected dental bill or household emergency, was a main reason for money pressure and poor financial wellbeing.

 Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, comments: “Most of us will face money worries at some stages of our life. While this may be linked to general living costs or caring for children or elderly relatives, our research points to a new worrying trend where social pressure to lead a certain lifestyle is taking its toll on peoples’ finances. More than a third of people reported that social pressure to spend was a barrier to taking control of their finances.

 “While ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ may not be a new development, the prevalence of social media may have made it a greater pressure to many more people at all life stages, and could well be holding people back from being able to plan for a financially secure future.

 “Whatever the cause of financial pressures the starting point to resolving this may be to seek expert help on how best to manage money and it’s important that individuals know where they can turn to for support on issues standing in the way of a sounder financial future. There’s certainly a role for employers when it comes to offering financial education in the workplace on topics such as budgeting, managing money and clearing problem debt. And once individuals have taken control of today’s finances, they will be in a better position to start looking towards their financial future whether it’s saving for a first home or thinking about retirement.”

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