Brits more comfortable discussing sex than their savings

British people are more comfortable discussing so-called ‘taboo subjects’ than money, with people saying they’d sooner discuss sex, religion, and politics than their savings, according to a survey conducted by Totallymoney.com.

  • More than 1 in 5 of us have lied about how much we earn
  • 24% of men have lied about their salary, compared to 16% of women
  • 70% of Brits are uncomfortable negotiating pay rises
  • Over half of Brits feel uncomfortable when people insist on calculating their exact share of the bill in restaurants
  • 92% are uncomfortable about asking to borrow money from others
attitudes_illo

Borrowing

The survey, which asked Brits about the conversations and situations involving money that make them most uncomfortable, revealed that lending or borrowing money makes people feel most awkward:

  • 92% of Brits are uncomfortable about asking to borrow money from others, while 87% said they’re uncomfortable about reminding people to pay back money they’ve borrowed
  • 78% of people said someone asking to borrow money from them would make them uncomfortable and this is especially true for the older generation: 83% of Brits aged 65+ said they’d feel uncomfortable in this situation, compared with 64% of 18-24-year-olds

Earning

In fact, conversations about money are so uncomfortable for British people that 1 in 5 of us have lied about how much we earn, and 53% of us find it difficult when friends or family ask about how salary:

  • 65% of 25-34-year-olds said they get uncomfortable when someone who earns less than they do starts talking about their salary, compared to 48% of those aged 65+
  • 81% of 18-24-year-olds feel uncomfortable about negotiating pay rises
  • 24% of men have lied about their salary, compared to 16% of women.
  • When it comes to social situations Brits feel most uncomfortable about splitting the bill equally in restaurants regardless of what each person ordered. But it’s telling someone it’s their turn to buy a round in the pub which sees the biggest male/female divide: 61% of women felt uncomfortable about this compared to 47% of men.

Cost of living

How much Brits spend on their rent or mortgage is also a touchy subject.  42% of Brits are uncomfortable with friends or family asking them how much their rent or mortgage is and over half (52%) said they’d be uncomfortable if a colleague asking them the same question.

Alastair Douglas, TotallyMoney.com CEO, says: “Asking to borrow money from friends or family makes us uncomfortable because we attach additional emotional weight to the transaction. We recognise that there is far more than just the money at stake.

“Although it might be difficult to ask, many people might feel that it’s their only option. They might not realise that they could have alternatives, even after being turned down by the banks, without resorting to payday lenders.

“Borrowing from friends or family might be right for some people, but we want to make the credit market fairer so that there are more and better options for everyone.”

An interactive visualisation of the data, ‘Very British Attitudes to Money’, shows the full list of conversations and situations that make us uncomfortable. View the survey results, including how opinions vary depending on age and gender, at http://www.totallymoney.com/british-attitudes-to-money/

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the analysis

Data for this research came from a representative survey of 2,000 members of the British public conducted by Mortar between 21/09/15 and 25/09/15. All research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct (2010) in the UK and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines.  Mortar is registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office and is fully compliant with the Data Protection Act (1998).

A breakdown of the analysis can be found below:

Borrowing/lending

Asking to borrow money

92% of Brits are uncomfortable about asking to borrow money from others

Someone failing to pay back money they’ve borrowed

91% of Brits said someone failing to pay back money they’ve borrowed makes them uncomfortable

Having to remind someone to pay back money they’ve borrowed

87% of Brits are uncomfortable about reminding people to pay back money they’ve borrowed

Bumping into someone you owe money to

85% of Brits said bumping into someone they owe money to would make them uncomfortable

Someone asking to borrow money from you

78% of Brits said someone asking to borrow money would make them uncomfortable

Social situations

Splitting the bill equally in restaurants regardless of what each person ordered

82% of Brits are uncomfortable with splitting the bill equally in restaurants

People who calculate their exact share of the bill in restaurants based on what they ordered

63% of Brits said people who insist on calculating their exact share of the bill in restaurants make them uncomfortable

Having to tell someone it’s their turn to buy a round in the pub

54% of Brits are uncomfortable telling someone it’s their turn to buy a round in the pub

 

Tipping

Asking for the service charge to be removed from the bill in a restaurant

72% of Brits are uncomfortable about asking for the service charge to be removed from the bill in restaurants

Not having enough cash to leave a tip

64% of Brits feel uncomfortable when they don’t have enough cash to leave a tip

Not tipping in restaurants

57% of Brits find not tipping in restaurants uncomfortable

Not tipping hairdressers/barbers

51% of Brits find not tipping hairdressers/barbers uncomfortable

Not tipping taxi drivers

49% of Brits find not tipping taxi drivers uncomfortable

 

Earnings

A stranger asking how much you earn

87% of Brits said they’d be uncomfortable if a stranger asked them how much they earn

Negotiating a pay rise

70% of Brits are uncomfortable about negotiating pay rises

A colleague asking how much you earn

67% of Brits said they’d be uncomfortable if a colleague asked them how much they earn

Someone talking about how much they earn if they earn more than you

58% of Brits get uncomfortable when someone who earns more than they do starts talking about their salary

Someone talking about how much the earn if they earn less than you

54% of Brits get uncomfortable when someone who earns less than they do starts talking about their salary

Friends or family asking how much you earn

53% of Brits are uncomfortable with friends or family asking them how much they earn

The idea of working somewhere with an ‘open salaries’ policy

53% of Brits would be uncomfortable about working somewhere with an ‘open salaries’ policy

 

Spending

People talking about how much they spent on a gift

34% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent on a gift

People talking about how much they spent on their car

32% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent on their car

People talking about how much they spent buying their home

31% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent buying their home

People talking about how much money they spent on their kids

30% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spend on their kids

People talking about how much they spent on their watch

30% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent on their watch

People talking about how much they spent renovating their home

29% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent renovating their home

People talking about how much they spent on their holiday

29% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent on their holiday

People talking about how much they spent on their clothes

29% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent on their clothes

People talking about how much they spent on their wedding

29% of Brits feel uncomfortable when people talk about how much they spent on their wedding

« Return to Press Centre