Only a quarter (27%) of UK adults have sought financial advice ahead of ‘freedom day’ despite Covid-19 causing financial uncertainty, according to new research from MetLife UK.
The study, which looked at consumer views, attitudes, behaviours and experiences of the housing market, found that the reasons for not seeking financial advice differ greatly.
Although 38% don’t intend to, 5% can’t afford to, 9% haven’t decided yet and 13% haven’t yet but might have to in the future.
The past 12-18 months has seen people’s anxieties around their finances and what their future holds grow as a result. When asked what their biggest financial concern for the next six months was, 16% admitted it was having a reduced income, the same number was also anxious about getting into debt and having to dip into savings to make ends meet.
The research shows that getting into debt and having to use savings is a longer-term concern too; 16% of people state that it is their biggest financial concern for both the next six months and the next year.
With finances becoming a key talking point in the past year, MetLife asked respondents who they turn to for financial advice. Nearly a quarter (24%) would turn to the bank, over a fifth (22%) a financial adviser and 21% a mortgage adviser/broker.
However, a significant number are now turning to less traditional routes. Some 29% of people admit to turning to financial experts and influencers such as Martin Lewis for their financial advice needs. Meanwhile, 21% would turn to online and media/news sources for their advice, but just 4% would turn to social media influencers.
Some 17% would go to their family and/or friends for financial advice, while 6% look to their work colleagues for guidance and just 3% would turn to their children or grandchildren.
Rich Horner, head of individual protection at MetLife, comments: “The pandemic has put many people’s finances in an unexpectedly difficult position and while some have been able to save more in lockdown, many others have been faced with job losses, falls in income and hardship.”
“As a result, our research shows that more than a third (27%) of people have felt compelled to take financial advice in order to shed more light on their current financial situation or get their finances back on track.”
Horner says this is a sensible decision as financial advice can make a big difference to how people think about their futures.
He adds: “It can help them better understand how to protect what is most important to them via valuable insurance policies, as well as helping to put plans in place for the future by developing a savings and investment strategy.”
When it comes to seeking financial advice, Horner says: “The sooner you seek financial advice the earlier you can start putting a plan together for your future goals and ensure you have the right protections in place should the unexpected happen. If the last year has taught us anything, it is just how unpredictable life can be.”