One in five cash-strapped adults have no idea how much debt they’re in

One fifth of cash-strapped adults are clueless about how much debt they’re in – and many say they’d rather be oblivious.

A poll of 2,000 people showed 17% would rather not find out the exact figure they owe, and 21% don’t want to worry about something they feel they can’t do anything about.

Some don’t even bother checking their account on payday, with 16% saying the cash flies straight out to pay bills and clear debt.

Research also showed that while six in 10 adults fret about money, a quarter of people are more likely to worry about their physical fitness than their finances.

Maitham Mohsin, head of savings at Skipton Building Society, which commissioned the research, said: “We all deal with financial stress differently.

“Some of us will face it head on while others find it a challenging problem to face which can lead to some of us choosing to ignore the problem.”

Maitham added: “It’s interesting to see just how many people don’t know how much they owe or how much they have, hoping that the problem will resolve itself.

“We understand things can be overwhelming but it’s important to start addressing our financial well-being as much as it is our physical and mental health where there has been such focus in recent months.

"If the problem is left alone it’s likely to get worse and impact on other aspects of life.”

While some choose to ignore their financial situations, others can’t be bothered to look.

The study also found 16% don't check their bank balance on payday because they’re not fussed.

A further 22% don’t check because they assume their employer won’t make a mistake, while one in 20 don’t even know how to access or get hold of their payslip in the first place.

Meanwhile, a tenth get disheartened by the amount of tax deducted from their gross salary.

It also emerged more than one in 10 rarely check their account balance before making a purchase, but 16% have had their card declined for not having enough left in their bank or building society.

As many as 23% have even been caught so off guard with their spending habits that they’ve been unable to afford an unexpected bill.

However, 30% wouldn’t dream of making a purchase without first checking how much they have squirreled away.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also found three-fifths won’t bother to log their personal day-to-day spending.

But of the 40% who do watch their pounds and pennies, three in 10 use a banking app to keep track, while 35% jot it down with a good, old fashioned pen and paper.

It also emerged nearly half of those polled hate talking about money and their finances, while 40% don’t even like to think about it.

More than a quarter admitted to having a ‘bury their head in the sand’ attitude towards their cash situation.

As a result, 36% are worried about the current state of their finances, and three in 10 are even concerned for their financial future because they don’t feel they have everything in order.

Nearly a third have absolutely no plans for how they will manage their spending as time goes on and, as a result, more than one in three have no idea how they will cope financially when they retire.

Maitham Mohsin added: “It can be a lot to try and tackle all of your finances at once, so it’s good to just take things one step at a time.

“First of all, just look at your monthly income and outgoings, and see if you can make any small changes to give you a bit extra to pay off any debt or put it into savings.

“It can be a bit daunting at first, but speaking to a professional can just make things seem that little bit more manageable.”

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