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HWH 2023 Press Release

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10 min read

by LifeSearch,

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Published 16 May 2023

Wealth Index plummets 15% as Brits are forced to raid savings, borrow from family and cut down on hot meals to make ends meet

  • LifeSearch Health Wealth & Happiness Index dips to lows not seen since the height of the pandemic, thanks to 15% drop in Brits’ wealth levels over the past 12 months
  • One in three (29%) Brits have been forced to raid their savings, bleeding rainy day funds of a collective £53.3bn1 in the past year 
  • One in 12 (8%) have had to borrow money from family - a total of £21.6bn2 across the UK
  • Many families have to make real sacrifices– 1 in 6 (17%) forgo hot dinners to make ends meet while 1.3 million Brits have stopped giving their kids pocket money

The Wealth Index fell by a further 15% in the last year, well below historic values, and hitting even lower levels than during the pandemic, according to the annual LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index.
The combined Health, Wealth and Happiness Index – compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for LifeSearch - fell 11% over the last year, to lows not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. But the wealth element fell even more sharply to the lowest level since 2013.
LifeSearch’s data has also revealed that almost one in three (29%) Brits have had to raid their savings over the past year to cover rising living costs, depleting their rainy-day funds of £292 on average every month, totalling £3,506 a year. Across the UK, that’s a combined total of more than £53.3bn1 lost from savings over the past 12 months. Among adults that dipped into their savings, one in 10 (11%) have spent over £500 each month from their savings.

On top of this, one in 12 (8%) people have had to ask their families for money – £401 a month on average – which means Brits have had to borrow more than £21.6bn2 from their loved ones over the last year.  Furthermore, one in eight people have been forced to take on more debt, either short (8%) or long term (4%), borrowing £579 on average.

Which of the following have you done in the last 12 months? % that have done this Amount per month
I have spent / used some of my savings 29% £292
I have taken out new unsecured debt (long or short term) 11% £579
I have borrowed from friends or family 8% £401

Brits’ trim costs by turning down the heating, trimming kids’ pocket money and switching supermarkets.

To try and cut costs, most people (55%) are putting the heating on less, one in four (25%) are using household appliances less frequently, a further one in four (24%) have switched supermarkets to make savings, while one in five (21%) have shopped in second hand shops and budget stores. One in thirteen (8%) say they share passwords for music and TV streaming, rising to 13% of under 35s, saving them £58 and £74 respectively each month.

But sadly, for many Brits, there are no more savings to be had by ‘cutting back’ and they are instead being forced to make real sacrifices in their daily lives to make ends meet.
According to the LifeSearch study, one in six (17%) people admit they have cut down on the number of hot meals they are having or changed the way they cook, to save around £45 a month, while one in 30 (3%) are saving just under £98 a month by using food banks.

One in 50 (2%) have even stopped giving their kids pocket money, saving around £73 a month, while 16%, rising to 20% among the over 55s, have cut back what they’ve given to charity.

What have you done to save money over the last 12 months? % that have done this Average saving per month
Put the heating on less at home 55% £54
Used appliances like dish washer / washing less or at different times of day 25% £33
Sold items you no longer need/want 25% £82
Switched the supermarket you shop in 24% £62
Shopped second hand / budget stores/charity shops 21% £57
Fewer hot meals a day / changed how we cook 17% £45
Stopped/reduced how much I give to charity 16% £31
Shared passwords for TV/music streaming 8% £58
Use food banks / charities for assistance 3% £98
Stopped / reduced kids pocket money 2% £73

Emma Walker, Chief Growth Officer at LifeSearch who commissioned the study said:
“After the record lows we saw in the Health, Wealth and Happiness Index at the height of the pandemic, we experienced some optimism last year when we saw some green shoots of recovery as the Index rebounded. But that was short-lived as the cost-of-living crisis has dragged the Index back down close to pandemic levels again. It may then be no surprise to find Brits’ wealth experienced the biggest falls in the last year, but our health has also dropped, including our mental health which has worsened for one in three of us in the last 12 months. This is then culminated by the revelation that our happiness today has fallen to its lowest point in over a decade.

Brits anticipate being £233 pm worse off in the year ahead as finances impact mental health

While one in two (52%) say they feel worse off financially now compared to last year, looking ahead to the next few months, Brits expect to be £233 worse off on average per month due to inflation, rising to £546 among Londoners. 

LifeSearch found that Brits’ happiness is at a rock bottom low not seen in over a decade, as one in four people (25%) are less happy today compared to a year ago, while 32% of Brits say their mental health and wellbeing has worsened in the last 12 months.  One in three (30%) Brits, say that money and just trying to survive financially is likely to have the biggest negative impact on their mental health in the year ahead. 

Nina Skero, Chief Executive, Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) who was commissioned to produce the Index for LifeSearch, commented: “The latest edition of the Health, Wealth and Happiness Index shows that 2022/23 was a tough period for households. We expect pressures to persist in the coming year, especially in terms of inflation and spending power.

“Nevertheless, the outlook is somewhat rosier than was the case at the turn of the year, with consumers showing considerable resilience in the face of troublesome economic conditions. This provides some hope that the depths of 2022/23 will not be repeated and that the Index’s components can return to improvement.” 

For more insights from the LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index 2023, visit annual LifeSearch Health, Wealth and Happiness Index.

- Ends -


1 On a nationally representative survey of 3006 UK adults, 864 are UK adults. 864 / 3006 * 52890000 (UK adult population) = 15201916 (shorthand 15.2 million). £3506 * 15201916.1676647 = 53297918083.8323 (shorthand £53.3 billion).

2 On a nationally representative survey of 3006 UK adults, 255 are UK adults. 255 / 3006 * 52890000 (UK adult population) = 4486677 (shorthand 4.5 million). £4808 * 4486676.64670659 = 21571941317.3653 (shorthand £21.6 billion).

The Health, Wealth and Happiness Index was compiled and updated by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for LifeSearch in April 2023. The Index is based on a modelling process taking into account a range of data sources covering health, wealth, and happiness and monitoring changes over time. The consumer insights research was carried out by Opinium Research between 4-10 April 2023 among 3,006 UK adults.

For further information, please contact:
Karen Mignon / Kevin Carr, Carr Consulting & Communications
Email: / Tel: 07766 651327
Email: / Tel: 07887 838811

About LifeSearch
In 25 years, LifeSearch have grown into the UK’s biggest life insurance specialist, offering expert, independent advice to customers around life insurance, critical illness cover, income protection, family income benefit, serious illness cover and business insurance. Over our two-plus-decades, LifeSearch has picked up dozens of awards for company culture, expertise and customer service. We have a TrustPilot score of 4.9 out of 5 (excellent) and came Top #3 in our debut appearance on the Sunday Times’ list of Best Places to Work in the UK –

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