People in Birmingham are the most worried about money in the whole country, according to a nationwide study revealing the UK’s most financially stressed cities.
Birmingham came in first out of eleven major cities, ahead of London, Manchester and Glasgow. Forty-six per cent of Brummies say they have money worries, compared with 36 per cent nationally, and 42 per cent in Edinburgh, which took second place.
It seems the stress is sapping our time away too. People in Birmingham are spending lots of their time dealing with money issues. Twenty-six per cent spend five or more hours a week, higher than in any of the other cities.
The picture gets gloomier still: Birmingham ranks in the top five for 15 out of 16 measures of stress caused by finances, including credit card debt, anxiety and sick days taken to deal with money issues.
Anxiety and panic attacks are what 32 per cent of Brummies have to deal with, while 26 per cent say their money situation has them feeling depressed and struggling to carry on.
One in three of us struggle to sleep at night, tossing and turning as we fret about our finances, found financial wellbeing provider Salary Finance.
Our personal lives are taking a hit, as money worries make us 12 times more likely to have troubled relationships with friends and family. Sadly, 18 per cent of Brummies are keeping schtum about their situation, saying they don’t feel comfortable talking about finances with anyone.
Spending ages dealing with money issues? You’re not alone. Forty-two per cent of Birmingham’s workers lose three or more hours on this every single week.
The effects are spilling over into work as well, affecting relationships with colleagues for a worrying 18 percent of Brummies. One in five people say money stresses have affected the quality of their work, and 27 per cent find it tough to get their daily tasks done on time.
When it comes to savings, many in Birmingham are struggling. More than half (53%) are saving less than £100 per month while 22 per cent are unable to put anything by at all.
Worse still, 21 per cent of us have less than £500 available in both our savings and current accounts. This compares with 24 per cent of workers in London, but only 17 per cent in Manchester.
Asesh Sarkar, CEO and cofounder of Salary Finance, said: “The research shows that financial stress has a real and negative impact on mental health for people working in Birmingham, and this has a knock-on effect when it comes to work and productivity.
“That’s why it’s important for employers to take a role in helping their employees to get on top of their finances. It’s not always about paying people more, but helping them with education, advice and ways to make their salary work harder by offering pay advances, savings and low interest borrowing options.”
How do things look elsewhere? Although Birmingham fared worst, other major cities came in close.
Edinburgh takes the number one spot for several key measures of financial stress. The Scottish capital has the highest levels of credit card debt, the most people unhappy with their current savings level (51%) and the most people suffering depressed mood on account of cash woes (30%).
Leeds is the place where people are the most tight-lipped when it comes to money worries. Twenty-eight per cent said they ‘don’t feel comfortable talking about their finances to anyone’. On the other hand, people in Cardiff seem to be most willing to talk about their money problems. Here, only 11 per cent of workers felt they didn’t have anyone they could open up to.
And workers in Manchester are most likely to find that money worries are having a negative impact on the quality of their work (26%). The Northern hub is also where the greatest proportion (34%) of people find themselves regularly running out of money before payday.