Despite the major issues that are dominating the news agenda, such as the environment, crime and terrorism, new research from Abbey reveals that finances are perceived as the biggest threat to quality of life. The Abbey Lifestyle Report, which looks at working trends and concerns across the UK, shows that almost one in four people (24%) identify money worries as the biggest threat to their quality of life. By contrast, environmental concerns barely registered, with only four% highlighting the environment as a major worry.
Retired people are among the least concerned with the environment (three%), with the research indicating that pensioners may be some of the biggest carbon culprits, spending almost a quarter of their leisure income on travel. For this group their personal health is the biggest concern and they are the section of society with the biggest fear of being victims of crime. Parents are the most concerned about the environment although only one-in-20 see it as the biggest threat to their quality of life.
Other issues high on the news agenda but low on the public’s list of worries include crime (11%) and terrorism (nine%). Fears vary greatly by region though, and while only six% of Scots see terrorism as the biggest threat this rises to 11% in the Midlands, the location of a number of recent police operations linked to the prevention of terrorism.
In spite of these concerns, the nation is optimistic about 2007 with 32% of UK adults believing that they will have a better quality of life next year compared with only 15% who think their quality of life will deteriorate.
Students are the most optimistic, with almost half (49%) believing that they will have a better quality of life in 2007. Retired people are the most pessimistic, with just 21% believing that they will have a better quality of life.
Sue Hayes of Abbey commented: “People are generally positive about their quality of life in 2007 and the much-publicised issues around crime and the environment don’t seem to be denting this optimism. The real concern for people is money and we are hoping that this is a signal that people are planning to get more engaged with their finances in 2007.”