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UK: Millions of Brits are overspending by £150 per month


* Half of Brits admit to living beyond their means
* 42% of people see credit and overdrafts as an extension of their bank balance
* One in seven say they never put money aside
* Over 55% contribute to a pension, paying an average of £105 per month

Half of Brits are living beyond their means, a study revealed yesterday, with one in ten spending more than they can afford to ‘appear’ better off than they are.

Research commissioned by Aviva found that not earning enough to cover living expenses, not wanting children to go without and struggling to resist buying new things mean half of all adults overspend by almost £150 a month.

Others spend more money than they earn to create an image of false wealth and because they don’t realise they are overspending until it’s too late.

It also emerged that millions of spend-happy Brits are failing to put money aside into savings or pay into pensions because they don’t have any money left over at the end of the month.

Tim Orton, Product Director for Aviva UK Pension & Investments, who commissioned the study, said: ‘’It has been a tough few years for people financially. Money has been tight, but worryingly, rather than cutting back, it seems there are some who are continuing to live way beyond their means.

“Given the level of debt in the country and an ageing population it’s hard to see how future governments will be able to support people in the way they have in the past.

“Building personal debt now, let alone failing to make any provisions for retirement, could lead to significant problems in the future.

“Whilst it’s reassuring to see that more than half of those surveyed are making regular contributions to a savings or pension pot every month, there are a still a large number of people who are overlooking these important financial priorities.”

The study of 2,000 adults, found that 48 per cent don’t always live within their means, with one in ten often relying on credit cards and overdrafts to get them through each month.

But, while 40 per cent put their overspending down to simply not earning enough to cover their day-to-day costs, more than one in ten are guilty of wanting to appear to have more money than they do.

Almost a quarter stretch themselves financially to make sure their children don’t go without, while 21 per cent just can’t resist buying things, even if they can’t afford it.

Not realising they don’t have the money until after they have bought things, losing jobs and having to get used to living on a reduced salary are among the other reasons for living beyond their means.

It also emerged that 42 per cent of people admit they see credit cards and overdrafts as an extension of their bank balance, with 60 per cent admitting they need to make more effort to stay in the black.

One in five don’t, or wouldn’t, change their lifestyle to reflect their financial situation, with the internet named as the thing Brits would be least willing to give up (35 per cent), even if it meant living beyond their means.

Mobile phone (25 per cent), annual holidays (23 per cent) and even a night out with friends (19 per cent) are also among the list of things we would keep spending on, regardless of our bank balance.

But the research revealed that with so many living beyond their means, savings and pensions are being neglected with around one in seven saying they never put money aside.

Just 55 per cent currently contribute into a pension, paying an average of £105 per month.

Of those who don’t, 42 per cent said they don’t have the extra money to put aside at the end of each month, while 17 per cent are concentrating their spare funds on paying off debts. More than one in ten considers themselves too young to have to worry about their retirement yet.

Researchers also found that eight in ten Brits admit they think a lot of people have their priorities wrong when it comes to spending and saving money. And three in ten have ended up rowing with their partner because one of them was overspending.

Tim Orton continues: “Making some small changes to our spending can have a big impact on the pot of money we end up with in retirement. Simply taking lunch to work each day or not buying a morning coffee can equate to £20 per week, £80 per month, £960 per year or the equivalent of more than £40,000 over an average working life.

“Furthermore, because of the tax relief you receive on pension contributions, for every £80pm you pay into your pension the Government pays an additional £20pm for most people.

“When you think about it in these simple terms we can all make some adjustments that could make a material difference in the future. A few indulgences now and again can be an important part of enjoying life, but creating and sticking to some simple savings goals will undoubtedly pay dividends in the longer term.”

Top ten things Brits wouldn’t give up, even if it meant living beyond their means:

1. Internet/broadband
2. Mobile phone
3. Annual holiday
4. Run a car/motorbike
5. A takeaway/meal out
6. A night out with friends
7. Sky TV subscription
8. Pay into my pension
9. Haircut/colour
10. Pay for life insurance/ critical illness


Notes to editors:

Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 34 million customers worldwide.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.

Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. In 2012 we invested £5.7m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 30,000 hours.

Aviva is working in partnership with Railway Children through the Aviva Street to School programme to get children living or working on UK streets back into everyday life, especially education. Find out more at

The Aviva media centre at includes company information and a news release archive.

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