Brits becoming more confident about their financial situation

We’ve been through a difficult period in the last few years, to say the least.

Thanks to factors ranging from the Covid-19 pandemic to Liz Truss’s catastrophic Mini-Budget, along with soaring interest rates and inflation rising to a 40-year high, people in the UK have been put under unprecedented and sustained financial pressure.

But interest rates have been left on hold in the last few months and while the cost of living isn’t coming down, the rate of inflation has fallen considerably.

And this is leading to cautious optimism among some that we could finally be turning a corner.

In fact, GfK’s latest Consumer Confidence Index has revealed that in March 2024, people’s attitudes towards their own personal finances actually improved.

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last year was 13 points higher than in March 2023, while the forecast for personal finances over the coming year is up by 23 points year-on-year.

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, believes the data is “encouraging”, because “it’s the first positive and the highest score since December 2021”.

“This is welcome news given the challenges faced by Britons of fiscal drag, higher costs for fuel, rising council taxes and utilities eroding any increases in wages or other income,” he said.

Nevertheless, the index showed that consumer confidence overall remained stuck at minus-21 in March, following a two-point dip in the previous month.

Mr Staton is concerned that this could sound “a note of worry”, as the improvements seen in consumer confidence seen in most months since January last year have “vanished”.

Another sign that people remain concerned about their current financial situation is that the Major Purchase Index has dropped two points this month.

Similarly, the measure for the UK’s general economic situation has fallen by two points, and the Savings Index is down by four points.

So what does this say about how people are feeling right now?

Well, the overall economic picture is – broadly speaking – more positive than it was a year ago, but it appears that people are still wary and uncertain.

After four or five years of what feels like a permanent state of crisis and uncertainty, and let’s not forget that the UK slipped into recession at the end of 2023, that’s perfectly natural.

We also can’t ignore the fact that there will be a general election in the UK this year, and who knows what a possible change in government could mean for our personal finances? Could this partly explain why many people are holding off on major purchases?

Against this backdrop, it’s well worth speaking to a specialist financial planner, as they can give you the guidance, support and information you need and help you make the right financial decisions.

If you have any questions about managing your finances and making your money work as hard as possible for you, please contact our friendly team of specialists and we’ll be happy to speak with you.

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