Half of Scots lose sleep over money concerns, study reveals

People of all ages are increasingly worried about their finances. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto
People of all ages are increasingly worried about their finances. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto
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One in six people in Scotland suffer psychological problems as a result of money concerns, according to new research.

Financial worries also impact on the sleep of almost half, 49 per cent of Scots, with one in ten suffering disruption every night, while 44 per cent say financial worries regularly impact on their personal relationships.

The study, published by Scottish Widows as part of Mental Health Awareness Week, also found 27 per cent get stressed just thinking about their financial situation in retirement.

However, the findings revealed just 56 per cent of the UK population are saving enough for a comfortable retirement.

David Holton, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, admitted the figures were concerning.

He said: “The link between every day money worries and mental health is well known, what is less well known is the extent to which longer term retirement savings, and engagement with their associated issues, contribute to the nation’s mental health.”

“What’s clear is that when people are forced to consider the reality of retirement they do recognise the need to be more prepared and are willing to put more money aside.

“This study shows that more needs to be done to help the UK face up to the reality of retirement and to save more money as early as they possibly can.”

To further investigate the findings, Scottish Widows commissioned a clinical study that found those people who are not saving enough for retirement feel it is too abstract or distant in the future to take action.

The study involved observation of 54 men and women aged between 35 and 45 from across the UK as they watched films illustrating two opposing retirement situations.

The fims showed the group one happy retirement and the other an impoverished one.

Participants were wired up to oximeters that measured their pulse rates, and researchers monitored signs of relaxation and stress, including facial movements and body language.

An “overwhelming majority” of participants demonstrated clear signs of stress, including body twitching, uncomfortable fidgeting, crying and increased pulse rates.

More than three-quarters said the videos had made them worried about how much they are saving towards retirement.

After watching just three-and-a-half minutes of footage, 90-per-cent of participants said they would review how much they are saving for retirement.

Jo Hemmings, the experiment’s scientific lead, said it provided a wake-up call for those saving for the future.

“This kind of situation suggests that prior to the experiment the vast majority of participants had given little or no consideration to the financial reality of their retirement,” she said.

“Yet the stress they demonstrated showed that they did identify with aspects of the film they watched, and this created fear that it would become their reality unless they took action to do something about it.”

The survey featured more than 400 Scottish participants.