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How confident are you about your future finances?

How confident are you about your future finances?

Category: Money

Updated: 29/09/2016
First Published: 29/09/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

The last few months have been turbulent to say the least, but now that the dust is beginning to settle, it's a good time to take stock and see how your finances are looking and prepare for their future.

New figures from Lloyds Bank, taken from their latest Spending Power Report, show that two-thirds (65%) of consumers surveyed felt positive about their own personal finances in August, an increase of 2% from the previous year. This highlights a definite boost and a welcome rebound from Brexit uncertainty, and suggests that people are feeling a bit more confident about the whole thing.

Similarly, 42% felt positive about the country's financial situation (up from 38% the previous month), while a record 81% also felt confident in their job security. This is up from 77% in July, which could be driven by the fact that unemployment in the last quarter fell by 39,000 compared with the previous three-month period (according to the ONS).

So far, so good. But what about the future? Additional figures from a YouGov/CEBR survey suggest that, while we're all pretty confident at the moment, this could simply be because the full effects of Brexit have yet to be felt.

Their survey found that sentiment towards job security for the year ahead actually declined in September, while many also felt that business activity could be impacted, which could have a knock-on effect on individual finances. Overall sentiment points to a slowdown in the year ahead, the report noted, suggesting "that the referendum's impact on the economy has been deferred for the time being rather than averted entirely".

Inflation could be a contentious point for the year ahead, too, with Lloyds' survey revealing declining positivity towards this key measure: 54% of consumers remained positive about inflation in August, but this is down from 59% in July and from 64% in August 2015. This could be because inflation has begun to edge up, which could have a notable impact on finances.

Perhaps understandably, future spending plans appear to be impacted as a result, with 76% saying they expect to save some or all of their extra disposable income (up from 72% in July) while 35% plan to prioritise paying off debt (up from 31%).

"The prospect of leaving the EU continues to dominate political discussions and much of the media, with little certainty over what this will mean in practical terms for households and consumers," said Robin Bulloch, managing director of Lloyds Bank.

"The overarching message from UK consumers is one of cautious optimism, which explains an increasingly careful and judicious approach to future spending plans."

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