NEARLY four in 10 adults feel their finances are in a state of chaos, as bills, taxes, food prices and transport costs put a strain on their income.
A poll of 2,000 UK adults found 27% are currently in some kind of unsecured debt, estimating it will take them over three years to clear it.
As a result, 79% of those are concerned about the amount of debt they have, although 87% feel they have a good understanding of how they can decrease their outstanding balances.
The research also found older generations are more likely to rely on credit cards, with 70% of 55 to 64-year-olds having at least one, as well as 62% of over 65s.
But, of those that use credit cards monthly, older adults are more likely to use them to pay for food and transport, while those under the age of 34 cover the cost of subscriptions, childcare and mortgage or rental payments.
Mark Gregory, CEO & founder of Equity Release Supermarket, which commissioned the research having recently launched smartER – a personalised equity release comparison tool – said: “The nation is facing a cost of living crisis, which is having a compounded impact on people’s finances and seeing more and more hit by debt and struggling to fill the void.
“Our research has shown that many are in need of support, and perhaps most shockingly have never reached out for help to gain the financial advice they fundamentally require.
“But it’s important to seek help sooner, rather than later, otherwise things can become overwhelming and there are several ways in which people can ease and improve their financial outlook, with equity release being a possible solution.”
The study also found 40% of adults have specific financial goals set for their future.
But 72% of these feel the rising cost of living crisis has set them back on achieving them, believing it will be more than a year before they get back on track.
Despite this, 59% haven’t sought help from a financial advisor as they don’t feel there’s a need (38%), can’t afford it (29%) or don’t know who to trust (18%).
It also emerged 28% of over 65s who aren’t yet retired aren’t confident that what they have put away will be enough to support their lifestyle in retirement.
And 70% of this age group are concerned about the amount of money they’ve accrued as part of their pension pot.
The research, conducted via OnePoll, also found that 31% of homeowners aged 50 and over aren’t familiar with equity release.
And only 21% of those who are familiar with it have used it to help boost their retirement income.
Mark Gregory added: “Nobody wants to be in debt, but there are ways to manage it and ensure it doesn’t cascade into a more complex situation or restricts people from living out their future plans.
“Whether that debt is from one-off or regular payments, there are things people can do to tackle it, and for some, equity release could be the solution which reduces the pressure of monthly repayments.
“Our study has shown that many haven’t even considered equity release, or if they have, they have been hesitant to make the first step into taking out a plan, perhaps because they don’t have the information available to them.
“However, with tools such as smartER, people can search for the best equity release plans available on the market that match their requirements and gain personalised details in their own time, under their control, before having to engage with an adviser.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to look into other ways to cover their finances and turning to an expert – rather than trying to muddle through on their own.
“Whilst it’s not the only option to support your debt, children or provide an enhanced retirement, equity release could be beneficial and should always be considered with the right financial advice.”