Almost half ‘dissatisfied’ with personal finances

Almost half of all adults say they are dissatisfied with their current financial situation, according to a report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The figure compares with fewer than one in five people who say they are highly satisfied.

The ONS report focuses on the relationship between people's personal finances and their sense of well-being, as part of a wider project looking at how to measure national well-being. It looks at different aspects of household income, expenditure and wealth –  including financial poverty and people's own views about their own financial situation.

Key points

  • The median income after housing costs was £359 a week in 2010/11, a fall of 4 per cent from £373 a week (at constant prices) in 2009/10. Increases in inflation outweighed the rise in income, resulting in households being squeezed financially.
  • An estimated 16 per cent of individuals were living in households considered to be in relative poverty in 2010/11 (ie with an income less than 60 per cent of the median household income before housing costs).
  • In 2009, 64 per cent of households with above-average poverty rates included large families, 64 per cent were entirely workless households and 47 per cent were headed by a lone parent.
  • In 2008/09, 7.5 per cent of people reported they were finding it quite or very difficult to manage financially, compared with 6.0 per cent in 2001/02.
  • In 2011/12, 47.4 per cent of adults aged 16 and over reported relatively low satisfaction with their financial situation, compared with 19.6 who had high satisfaction.
  • In 2008/09, 8.5 per cent of people reported being completely satisfied with the income of their household, compared with 11.1 per cent in 2002/03.
  • In April 2012, 28 per cent of people thought their personal financial situation would worsen over the next six months, compared with 22 per cent who thought it would improve.

Source: Carla Seddon, Measuring National Well-Being – Personal Finance, 2012, Office for National Statistics
Links: Report | ONS press release | TUC blog post