Aviva study uncovers debt worries amid pandemic

A quarter of 45-54-year olds would say that their total amount of debt has increased over the past 12 months, according to new research from Aviva.

This figure, which would equate to 2.25 million people in the UK, comes despite headline figures claiming that UK adults have saved more than £180bn during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aviva’s study, which was carried out by Censuswide in March 2021 among 2,010 nationally represented consumers, found that one in five (18%) of 45-54 year olds whose current debt has increased over the past 12 months have borrowed to pay off other existing debt or to help a family member. A similar number (19%) took a credit card or mortgage repayment holiday and interest has accrued.

The majority (78%) of 45-54-year olds surveyed are worrying about the level of debt they have accrued, with 21% saying they worry about it ‘often’ (14%) or ‘all the time’ (8%). While the largest proportion (26%) of this group speak to their partner about their money worries, the study also revealed that 24% do not talk to anyone at all.

Furthermore, the study found that a quarter (24%) of this population do not know how much debt they have while over a third (34%) have debts they do not know how to pay off. One in five of them (18%) feels their debt is ‘out of control’ when it comes to paying off the debt they have built up during the pandemic.

Aviva head of savings and retirement, Alistair McQueen, commented: “Those in mid-life represent the least happy and most anxious age group in the UK – balancing their own needs with younger and older members of their family, and we know that when people feel their debt is out of control it causes huge anxiety.

“What’s important to remember is that there is a range of completely free, confidential and impartial services available to help you if debt is becoming a problem.”

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