New research finds financial anxiety is on the rise

ALMOST nine in 10 people across Ireland have been reported as facing serious financial concerns in the midst of the ongoing cost of living crisis.

That’s according to new research commissioned by An Post, which found that 87 per cent of people – in a survey carried out with 1,012 participants aged over 18 years – have concerns over their current financial situation.

The research found that financial anxiety in the wider Irish public has increased significantly from the beginning of the year, despite a number of cost of living measures and payments being implemented by Government since the winter period.

Home heating and energy bills, according to An Post’s research, stood as the number one financial concern facing people living in Ireland, with 65 per cent of participants reporting increased anxiety over household bills, a five per cent jump since January.

Those over the age of 55 especially reported heating and energy bills as their chief money worry (68 per cent), while the 35-54 age bracket also cited mortgage payments as an ongoing source of financial stress (36 per cent).

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

Grocery prices and accommodation costs also rank highly as areas of concern for people living in Ireland.

63 per cent of people surveyed said they were worried about the cost of household groceries as inflation hit a record high this past April. Almost one in five people cited this as their current main financial concern – an increase of 38 per cent since January 2023, according to An Post.

For 45 per cent of respondents, accommodation was the largest driver of financial concern, marking a 37 per cent increase since the beginning of the year. Rent prices were found to be a significant cause of financial anxiety for those aged between 18 and 35 (44 per cent).

A spokesperson for An Post said the research reveals “a sense of a lack of control as people in Ireland try to keep afloat in the short term, but are stressed over their inability to prepare for their own future”.

“Respondents expressed deep concern that they were unable to put money aside for savings plans, pensions, education funds, emergencies, holidays, home improvements, and retrofits or important occasions.”

With financial worries so focused on immediate and day-to-day costs, financial advisor Paul Merriman said that the results of the research were “stark yet unsurprising”.

“As the purse strings tighten at home, attention turns to managing the day to day and making sure we keep the lights on and put food on the table,” Mr Merriman said.

“However, I am concerned to see so many putting their long-term financial plans on the back burner, because what might seem like a low priority now will quickly become a big priority in five or ten years.”