Life Events and Financial Insecurity

Our new research is a significant step in understanding the impact of life events on people’s finances, how they cope, and what measures they need to support them.

This article is 29 months old


Life Events and Financial Insecurity Executive Summary

From bereavement to illness, and from a relationship breakdown to unemployment, these life events can plunge people into financial hardship, particularly those who are already struggling to make ends meet. For many, the result can be a financial crisis in addition to the stress caused by the event itself. And for millions, the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the challenges.

At Turn2us, we want to see a society where everyone who experiences financial hardship can get the support they need, when they need it. As a national charity, our main objective is to offer practical  help and support to people who  experience a life-changing event, and to stop them becoming trapped in a cycle of poverty. We focus, in particular, on supporting the people who are the most marginalised or excluded from the current financial system. 

This new research is a significant step in understanding the impact of life events on people’s finances, how they cope, and what measures they need to support them. This understanding is vital if we are to help them get back on their feet in the wake of a life event. The research explores a broad range of events that have an impact on people’s finances in the areas of health, work, family, housing and legal circumstances.

Key findings

  • An estimated 15 million people (28%) in the UK have experienced at least one life event that was either ‘very difficult’ or ‘not possible’ to pay for, using existing income and savings, during the past two years.
  • Women, younger people and people from ethnic minorities reported being more likely to experience a life event that has a negative impact on their finances.
  • After a life event that left them worse off, almost 50% of people surveyed relied on a credit card to cover day-to day-spending, 23% took out a payday loan; and more than one third (36%) missed bills or debt repayments.
  • More than four out of ten people who found it difficult to cover the costs of a life event did not look for any form of financial support.
  • The main barriers to seeking financial support after a life event were a lack of awareness, shame or stigma, the impact of stress, anxiety or depression, and negative perceptions of the benefits system.

As with many of us motivated by social justice and equity, we want to be part of a fairer and more just society that doesn’t leave any of us behind. It is our hope that the findings from this report help inform both the wider sector and those in positions to create change. Understanding the scale of life events, and the implications for millions of us across the UK, puts us in a good position to come together with people who have lived experience of financial insecurity to create long-lasting solutions. The time to do this is now because the people whose lives are being plunged into hardship, and even poverty, do not have the luxury of time when it comes to putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their family’s heads. 

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Life Events and Financial Insecurity Executive Summary