OVER a million people across the East of England have less than £100 in savings, according to new research from the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).
The survey of 197 adults, carried out for Talk Money Week (November 7-11), shows that one in seven (15%) have nothing put away and another one in ten (9%) have £100 or less.
This leaves almost a quarter of adults in the region living without a financial safety net to cope with the rising cost of living or unexpected bills, meaning some may have to use credit.
MaPS says although credit is an important tool when used and managed well, it’s crucial that people understand what they can afford and have a plan to pay it off.
However, the figures also reveal that many people are already finding this difficult. Among the 78% of East of England residents who use credit, one in three (35%) are now anxious about how much they owe. A third (30%) are worried about the number of different products they have.
As cost of living pressures start to hit home, MaPS says it’s more important than ever to talk about money before problems set in. However, the survey also reveals that 75% of people still avoid discussing their finances.
Asked why, the most common responses were ‘not wanting to be judged’ (22%), ‘shame or embarrassment’ (15%) and ‘fear of burdening others’ (13%).
During Talk Money Week, MaPS is encouraging everyone to open up about money, plan for their financial future and take free debt advice as soon as they need it.
The organisation says its MoneyHelper service can be people’s first port of call, offering free guidance on topics like everyday money, savings and where to find free debt advice.
It also provides a range of information on dealing with money issues, including step-by-step guides on how to talk to your creditors or discuss money with family and friends.
Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive of the Money and Pensions Service, said:
“Over a million people across the East of England find it a challenge to save and this leaves them vulnerable when sudden expenditure items arise. When you add in the anxiety that they feel with their credit commitments, the weight of that worry can quickly become overwhelming.
“This Talk Money Week, we want everyone to start the conversation with family or friends and share the burden of any money worries. By dealing with the problem head on, people can discover just how helpful free debt advice can be and see the importance of talking to their creditors early. They can also begin to find a way forward, no matter how difficult their situation might feel.
“Free help and guidance on how to do all of this is available via our MoneyHelper service and I’d urge everyone who needs it to get in touch today.”