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Exclusive: Half Of 20-Somethings Say Money Pressures Impact Their Mental Health

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 5 days ago George Bowden

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The majority of young people in their 20s say money worries have negatively impacted on their mental health, according to a poll conducted by HuffPost UK and BBC Radio 5 Live.

More than half of twenty-somethings said finances had taken a toll on their mental wellbeing, ahead of self-esteem concerns (49%), body image pressures (47%) and work pressures (37%).

The survey of more than 1,000 20- to 29-year-olds was commissioned jointly by HuffPost UK and 5 Live as part of a special ‘Twenties Takeover’ of the station.

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It also found that almost two-thirds (65%) of people in their 20s say they have less than £500 in savings and 30% have none at all. 

The majority (59%) of young people say they have a harder life than their parents did when they were the same age.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis described money problems and mental health as a “marriage made in hell”.

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“There is a double causality: mental health issues can cause money problems, money problems can cause mental health issues. 

“Certainly, if you have good mental health the best thing to do with your finances is to actively manage them.

“Do a budget, plan the decision, set restrictions, use piggy banking, apps that work out how much you have to spend.

“If you’re already in a position where you can’t cope with your finances, then seek help from one of the non-profit debt counselling agencies, like StepChange, National Debt Line and Citizen’s Advice.”

Lewis advised young people to pay off expensive debts before building up savings and to treat budgeting like a job.

“Looking after your money is a job – you don’t need that many day’s work on it – but for many people managing your money properly is the best-paid work you can get,” he said.

A recent report from the Resolution Foundation described young people’s finances as a “hangover” from the 2008 recession that cannot be shaken off.

A so-called ‘crisis cohort’ of young people entering the workforce between 2008 and 2011 experienced lower hourly pay for longer than others, while those with lower levels of education were less likely to be in work altogether.

StepChange’s Sue Anderson said the debt charity had seen the average age of those seeking its help fall in recent years.

“Younger people tend to face high costs, low and insecure income – so it’s simply harder for them to save,” she said.

a close up of a persons hand © Sezeryadigar via Getty Images “The effect is that they have less financial resilience and may only be one income shock away from problem debt.

“At StepChange, the average age of our clients has been falling – two-thirds are now under 40 and one in seven are under 25.”

Explore more issues faced by those battling mental health and join our fight for happiness here.​​


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