• More than six in ten (63%)[i] UK adults from an ethnic minority background feel stressed about their finances compared to nearly four in ten (39%) UK adults that are white according to new research by Yorkshire Building Society
  • Figures also reveal the pandemic has caused increased stress for people from ethnic minority backgrounds with more than half (55%) saying they feel more stressed than before the pandemic compared to a third (34%) of white respondents.
  • The pandemic has also caused almost a third (32%) of people from ethnic minority backgrounds to decrease their monthly savings compared to less than a fifth (17%) of white respondents.  
  • The research forms part of Bradford-based Yorkshire Building Society’s ambition to help 1.8m more people to save by 2024

More than six in ten (63%) of adults in the UK from ethnic minority backgrounds feel stressed about their finances compared to nearly four in ten (39%) of their white counterparts. The pandemic has also caused increased stress to adults from ethnic minority backgrounds, with more than half (55%) saying it’s increased their money worries compared to nearly a third (34%) of white respondents, new research has found.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also hit savers from ethnic minority backgrounds harder with almost a third (32%) witnessing a decrease in their monthly savings through the pandemic compared to less than a fifth (17%) of white UK adults.

Money worries are also impacting the mental health of adults from ethnic minority backgrounds more severely with more than a third (34%) saying they have had sleepless nights due to financial worries compared to just over a fifth (21%) of white UK adults. 

Yorkshire Building Society, who commissioned the research through Opinium, hopes people will use some of the Society’s online support tools or branch network to talk face to face about the best steps to take to review their money situation and reduce financial anxiety.

The survey also showed a third (33%) of respondents from ethnic minority backgrounds had to borrow money from family and friends through the pandemic compared to just under a fifth (19%) of white respondents. Similarly, more than a quarter (26%) of adults from ethnic minority backgrounds said they will need to delay their retirement due to the impact of the pandemic compared to 14% of white adults.

Tina Hughes, director of savings at Yorkshire Building Society, said:

Our research indicates the negative effect the pandemic has had on many people’s finances leading to poor mental health and that it is hitting adults from ethnic minority backgrounds hardest. We don’t want people to suffer in silence and would encourage anyone who is feeling overwhelmed about their money situation to speak out – talk to someone they can trust, get in touch with the organisations involved with their money, or seek professional help from one of the many great charities available to help.

The research also showed more than three in ten (31%) of adults from ethnic minority backgrounds don’t know who to ask for financial advice compared to more than 2 in ten (22%) of white respondents.

The Society encourages any customers who have concerns about their finances or experience health conditions that may affect their ability to manage their money, to have a confidential chat with its colleagues to help them better respond to specific needs people may have.

Tina continued:

We understand not everyone will feel comfortable discussing their mental health or other needs with us, but it is important people know we’re here to help them manage their money when things get difficult and if they don’t feel like talking we also have a range of online tools to support with budgeting and financial wellbeing.

Yorkshire Building Society recently launched a pilot scheme with Citizens Advice where Citizens Advice advisers are available one or two days a week in six of the Society’s branches to support members of the public with a range of issues, including financial wellbeing.

Tina added:

Once we know more about a customer’s situation, we can take steps together to address their finances and where necessary, put them in touch with independent organisations such as Citizens Advice or others who can provide appropriate financial and mental health support. We recently became the first UK financial services provider to offer this in person one-to-one service in six of our branches in a trial partnership with Citizens Advice.

Yorkshire Building Society is based in Bradford, one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the UK, and in 2021 committed to put nearly a quarter of a million pounds (£240,000) extra investment into the city to support its post-Covid recovery.

As part of the investment the Society has launched a pilot partnership with Good Things Foundation to provide digital skills training to 150 people from ethnic minority backgrounds in Bradford to help with employability prospects.

The Society surveyed people across the country as part of its ongoing campaign to improve financial resilience – with a goal of getting an additional 1.8 million non-savers to start putting money away by 2024.

Yorkshire Building Society has a range of support tools available online for people to budget and take practical steps to saving more. For more information visit www.ybs.co.uk.

All information correct at time of publication.


[i] Yorkshire Building Society Financial Resilience survey: The research was carried out online by Opinium. All surveys were conducted between 7th May 2021 and 11th May 2021 and the sample comprised 2,000 UK adults.