Report finds one million adults struggling financially

The report suggests that people between the ages of 35 and 40 were the hardest hit by the economic crash

One million adults in Ireland say they are struggling financially according to a new report.

The RED C poll undertaken on behalf of Aviva Insurance has found that 70% of those who are finding it difficult to make ends meet see no hope for an improvement in their prospects.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, those between the ages of 35 and 54 are finding it most difficult to cope and are also the most downbeat in their expectations for the future.

One in three people within the age group say they are struggling, with more than a third paying crèche fees and 67% paying for their children’s education.

Generation X

According to the report, these members of the so-called “squeezed middle” bore the brunt of the economic crash with many having lost their jobs or experienced significant wage cuts.

Almost half are paying a mortgage, with many likely to have bought their properties at, or close to, the highest market prices in the state’s history.

Over three quarters said they also have other debts with a majority feeling unprepared for future retirement.

Ann O’Keefe, head of individual life and pensions at Aviva said the plight of people within the age group “deserves the attention” of those working on Irish pension policy into the future.

“This key group is experiencing a financial ‘mid-life crisis’ as they juggle their responsibilities and liabilities to keep their heads above water,” she said.

“Two in three of them see no immediate prospect of their income improving and many of them will have to find a way of funding their retirement.”

A tale of two recoveries

The report also found that just under one million people feel they are living comfortably – with a further 1.5 million optimistic about the future.

The most fortunate age group is those over the age of 65 – with 44% reporting that they are living comfortably.

A further 46% - equating to 1.6 million adults – said they are just getting by.

“Our findings tell a tale of two recoveries,” said Ms O’Keefe. “Those who are feeling the upswing in their own finances, and those who continue to struggle.”

“Worryingly, 70% of the 1 million who are struggling see no prospect of improvement in their circumstances. On the upside, 1.5 million are optimistic about their future.”

Rising optimism

The report found that optimism has grown over the past six months with confidence in employment opportunities on the rise.

The number of people expecting a pay rise has risen by 9% since last autumn with 49% now expecting their salary to increase.

Notwithstanding this, just one-third of adults expect their disposable incomes to increase with almost half expecting to pay higher taxes.

The youngest age cohort – those under the age of 35 – are the most optimistic about their prospects with 44% expecting their income and employment opportunities to improve.