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The big squeeze! A spotlight on how the cost of living affects the UK

Across the UK, people from all walks of life are being hit financially. Our new research shows 69% of those surveyed across the UK are feeling worried about money. We take a closer look at how this concern is spread across the nation.

family behind


Since the pandemic, the UK has entered another national crisis. The rising cost of living is affecting the whole nation. But some groups are feeling it more than others.

We conducted a study on the financial strength of the UK. We surveyed 2,000 individuals about how prepared they are to deal with financial difficulties.

Our findings at a glance

With inflation and energy prices climbing, 69% of respondents are worrying about their finances

Map of the UK

Financial resilience

35% do not feel resilient when it comes to supporting themselves or their family

Money note

Spending on bills

Six in 10 respondents have reported an increase in their bills since March 2022

Heart with heartbeat inside

Income loss

55% of people worry about losing income due to their own illness, which may prevent them from working

Pound sign in pink circle

Lack of savings

24% of respondents stated they haven't put anything into savings since September 2022

The pandemic forced us to think about how we'd stay afloat, especially if we couldn't work due to illness.

In fact, our survey shows that more than half the participants are worried about their financial stability. Especially if they can't work.

However, only 27% of them have a life insurance plan, while only 13% have critical illness coverand just 10% have income protection.
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Women feel more at risk

The current crisis is having a greater impact on women, leading them to feel less resilient. Our survey shows;

  • 39% of women do not feel financially resilient, compared to 30% of men
  • Since September 2022, 61% of women have reported an increase in expenses, compared to 53% of men
  • Over the last 18 months, there's been a 9% increase of men unable to save each month versus 14% of women
Man walking holding groceries

Only 25% of women are confident that they could cover their expenses for 2+ years if they couldn't work due to illnessThis is in comparison to 41% of men.

But why is this? The gender pay gap and women taking part-time work to care for children could be a clue.

Single parents feel the least resilient

Parents are bearing the brunt of the rising cost of living

Mother with young daughter

Single parents

44% of single parents do not feel financially resilient


Young parents

31% of young parents (20-30) do not feel resilient

Mother, father and young son

All parents

33% of all parents do not feel financially resilient

Parents with two children

Blended families

26% of blended families do not feel financially resilient

43% of parents are worried about their ability to pay their mortgage. This percentage decreases to 36% for people without children.

Also, 71% of single parents don't feel confident that they would be able to cover their expenses if they are unable to work for 6-12 months.

One way to safeguard your lifestyle is through income protection. But despite its benefits, a relatively small number of families have this coverage.
Man up a ladder cleaning windows

Workers are feeling vulnerable

Many workers are worried about not being able to pay their bills if they become sick and cannot work. Our survey revealed that;

  • 70% of full-time employees are worried about money
  • 28% of full-time employees are not confident they'd be able to cover expenses for one month if they couldn't work due to illness
  • This percentage rises to 34% for part-time employees and 30% for gig-economy workers
Map of UK with regions pinpointed

What's the story across the UK?

Now, let's look at the effects by region. Wales fares worst. 42% of residents we surveyed state they do not feel resilient. They're followed by Yorkshire & Humberside, where 40% of respondents do not feel resilient.

Looking at cities, the residents of Newcastle are the most worried about money. Other cities across the UK are also concerned:

  • Newcastle - 80%
  • Cardiff - 79%
  • Plymouth - 78%
  • Leeds - 74%
  • Norwich - 71%
  • London - 70%
  • Belfast - 69%
  • Glasgow - 67%
  • Manchester - 67%
  • Liverpool - 66%
  • Birmingham - 64%
  • Bristol - 61%

How does it impact our lives?

Large portions of the UK are not reaching the usual milestones

Couple inside a house

Buying a property

A quarter (27%) say the crisis has stopped them from getting on the property ladder

Woman inside a house

Leaving home

26% of respondents will be prevented from moving out of their parents' house

Parents with two children

Starting a family

One in five (21%) state the financial crisis has stopped them from starting a family



19% of people we surveyed report it has stopped them from getting married

31% of respondents stated that they purchased life insurance to provide for their family. While 19% indicated that they were required to take it out for a mortgage.

Life insurance can offer support to you and your loved ones by providing a lump sum, or regular income, if the worst happens.
Man pushing boy on scooter

Final thoughts from Vitality

These survey results show the cost-of-living crisis is putting a strain on household budgets. Across the UK people are worrying about their finances.

At a time like this, it's even more important to make sure you and your loved ones are protected financially. Insurance products like life insurance will provide your loved ones with a lump sum if you die. And income protection can provide a regular income if you're unable to work due to ill health.

If you're worried about how a period of sickness might impact your finances, speak to a financial adviser.

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Vitality and Opinium Research surveyed 2,000 UK adults.

The research was conducted on behalf of Vitality by Opinium Research. The data was collected from a sample of 2,000 UK adults over a 10-day period, from 18th October 2022 to 28th October 2022.

Opinium Research is a member of the British Polling Council and a company partner of the MRS (Market Research Society). They abide by the rules of the British Polling Council and follow the MRS code of conduct, which is based on ESOMAR principles.