12 January 2024

New research shows financial optimism far exceeds pessimism

HSBC UK sets out top tips to help build financial resilience

Consumer optimism in the ability to handle unexpected financial expenses far exceeds those who are pessimistic over their financial position, new research from HSBC UK has revealed.

Research of over 2,000 UK adults carried out by YouGov1 which looked at attitudes to financial resilience and the increased cost of living, showed that 6 in ten (59%) of people were confident in their financial resilience and their ability to withstand unexpected expenses, while one third (34%) were not confident.

The research also showed:

  • 6 in ten (57%) felt secure about their financial situation heading into the upcoming year, with 37% feeling less secure;
  • 4 in ten (41%) were confident of achieving their financial goals this year, with 36% not confident;
  • 49% of respondents said their finances had improved or remained stable (8% improved; 41% stable) since May 2023. 47% of people said their finances had worsened; and
  • Over the last six months more people are taking action and cutting back on discretionary spending than they were in the six months prior to April 2023 as a result of the increased cost of living. This includes, spend on takeaways (43% vs 40%), dining out (43% vs 39%) clothes (42% vs 40%), and on birthdays, anniversaries or family treats (29% vs 26% in April 2023).

Positively, more people than in April 2023 are aware they can contact their bank to discuss financial worries without it affecting their credit, albeit the level still remains low at 5% (vs 3% in April 2023).

Steve Reay, Financial Wellbeing Expert at HSBC UK, said: “While it is reassuring to see the level of financial optimism among consumers, it is obvious that the increased cost of living is still a source of concern for many.

“We have worked hard over the last year to educate and empower people with regard to their finances, ’and a key part of this is helping to build financial resilience. This includes looking at ways to soften any blow from unexpected increased costs, and the great thing is, there will be simple actions ’everyone can do to help improve their financial resilience, whatever their financial situation may be.”

HSBC UK has produced a four-step action plan to help people save money, get out of debt and be able to cope with setbacks, building a better financial future.

  1. Create a budget and save where you can.
  2. Start an emergency fund.
  3. Protect the things that matter.
  4. Invest in your future.

Steve Reay added: "In today’s unpredictable financial landscape with plenty of unexpected twists and turns, embracing financial resilience isn’t just a choice, it is a necessity. Getting on top of your finances and saving for the future can take time but by building your financial foundation, you’re not only securing your present but creating a resilient future, giving you a better opportunity to thrive.”

During 2023, HSBC UK’s Financial Wellbeing Team, engaged with twice as many people through Financial Wellbeing webinars than during the Covid-19 pandemic. The webinars, which were open to customers and non-customers alike, were attended by over 50k people.

Internal data from HSBC UK showed, in 2023:

  • 1274 Financial Wellbeing events were carried out by HSBC UK and attended by 50,155 people
  • Of those, 227 sessions specifically focused on cost of living, attended by 6,515 people
  • 1861 Financial Health Checks were completed by HSBC UK specialists
  • 76K unique visitors to the bank’s Cost Of Living Hub, with 279K unique visitors since its launch in 2022,
  • Over 35K customers completed a benefits calculator identifying over £2.7m in benefits (up to end November 2023).

Note to editors:

All survey figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Two surveys were carried out online. 1) Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 6th April 2023. Total sample size was 2106 adults. 2) Fieldwork was undertaken between 22nd - 23rd November 2023Total sample size was 2198 adults. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

HSBC UK serves over 14.75 million customers across the UK, supported by 24,000 colleagues. HSBC UK offers a complete range of retail banking and wealth management to personal and private banking customers, as well as commercial banking for small to medium businesses and large corporates. HSBC UK is a ring fenced bank and wholly owned subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc.

HSBC Holdings plc
HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories. With assets of $3,021bn at 30 September 2023, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.