Now that online banking and banking apps are growing in popularity, it's never been easier to keep tabs on your money. However, it still seems that too few Britons have a realistic idea of how much money they have.
A report issued by VoucherCodes.co.uk discovered that almost two-thirds of Britons surveyed (59%) were unaware of how much money they have in their bank account at any given time. Many were also found to be clueless when it came to debt, with less than a quarter of those questioned (23%) saying that they knew exactly how much money they owed, excluding mortgages.
Regular household bills were also found to be a topic many respondents remained in the dark about, with one in 10 people questioned admitting that they had 'no idea' how much their regular bills, such as gas & electricity, cost each month.
Despite being the hub of Britain's financial industry, London was found to house the most financially unaware – just over a third (36%) of those living in London claimed to know their exact bank balance, compared with 45% of those living in the South West, which the survey found was the home of the most financially-savvy.
As such, it is evident that large numbers of Britons are failing to keep tabs on their spending and budget, but it appears that many reach a 'financial turning point' around the age of 38, when they finally take up the reins of financial responsibility.
Having children was found to be the top reason for why Britons start to take stock of their financial situation, with 50% giving this as the crucial turning point. Buying a first home was another important factor for 42% of respondents, while making major home improvements (40%), losing a job (35%) and buying a car (33%) proved to be other important motivators. As more and more people push these and other big life events back thanks to a lack of funds, perhaps it is unsurprising that the age of financial responsibility has become so late.
"Despite many of us becoming financially independent in our late teens, it's interesting to note that our attitude towards spending money only changes once we hit our late thirties, suggesting that the rising cost of living has impacted on how soon we can afford to get married, buy our first property or, indeed, plan a family," commented Anita Naik of VocherCodes.co.uk.
But what can you do to take on the mantle of financial responsibility and get your finances in gear?
If you have been hiding away from managing your finances, it's time to get your head out of the sand and take stock! Taking control of your finances means that you will be able to work towards expensive life goals and reduce your debt, which can only be a good thing.
The easiest step to take is to start checking your balance regularly. Online banking and banking apps can make this quick and easy, so start getting acquainted with your current account. It's also a good idea to check your credit card balances and any savings accounts you have.
If you owe money, you can work out a budget so that you can pay it off. For credit card debt, you may like to think about transferring the balance to a 0% balance transfer card, which will enable you to pay off the money without adding more interest. On the other hand, if you find you have a pot of money that has been languishing in a poor savings account – find it a new home! Take a look at our best buys to see if you could earn a better return elsewhere.
Whatever you do, don't go ignoring those bank statements – if you take control of your finances, you can start to work out how to make your money go further, which will in turn help you to reach your milestone goals.
Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.
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