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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 91

Date:- 21 March 2003

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WANT to cut down on your spending?   Well it's simple according to the Prudential. Research commissioned by them has shown that after a stressful day at work, costs 4.74 million for people in the North West, due to them having high levels of stress, hit the shops for a dose of retail therapy. This could be the result of all this years national spending, that's going up to whopping £617.15 million a year, or potentially £5.4 billion a year on a national basis, but could this cash be put to better use?

Picture this scenario, it's Monday morning - the start of a working week:-

Time Stress Trigger
07.15 Argument at home
08.30 Morning school run
08.45 Commute to work
09.45 Engulfed in a dose of office politics
10.30 Major presentation
12.05 Argument with the boss
15.50 Another argument with the boss
17.30 Commute from work
18.40 Food shopping
19.30 Argument about money

These are just some of the events identified in the Pru research as being the most common stress triggers on any given day.  This means the 'stressometer' for many of us could look something like this:-

Stress saviors.

With stress levels at fever pitch, it's no wonder there are so many ways of managing stress. Not surprisingly, women and men each have their preferred methods of stress relief.

  • 59% of females find talking to a friend helps relieve stress, while only 34% of men prefer this option.

  • 26% of males find a trip to the pub more conducive to reducing stress, whereas only 13% of women
    would choose this alternative.

  • 24% of males prefer winding down at a sporting event, with just 6% of females choosing this option.

Stress spending - where does the money go?

The research also revealed that shopping is a favored stress management tool amongst both sexes, although the types of purchases tend to differ. Three of the top shopping alternatives highlighted by the research are:-

For Males

For Females

CDs/videos (40%)

Clothes (68%)

Electrical gadgets (34%)

Books (8%)

Off-license (19%)

Cosmetics (32%)

Further results revealed that:-

• The average amount 'frittered away' on shopping trips aimed at cheering one-self up is £166 for men and £ 129 for women.

• Those aged between 35- 44 years old spend the most on stress induced shopping sprees  an average of £183.60 per trip.

• Around 6% of the adult population have spent more than £500 on a single shopping trip in an effort to make themselves feel better. A further 7% of the adult population - 3.3 million - claim to have spent between £201-£500.

• While women don't spend as much as men, they're more prone to a guilty conscience afterwards 41 % of women admitted to feeling guilty after they've frittered money away compared to 28% of men.

Ways to lower the stress

With only 28% of people stating their lives have become less stressful in the last six months, what are the repercussions of all this spending and what are some easy win solutions for people who feel their impulse spending is getting the better of them?

Roger Ramsden, Marketing Director, Pru UK and Europe said:- "Our research makes it clear that there is a strong correlation between stress and finances. Over 26 million people (58% of the adult population) said they have never taken a good look at their finances or made a financial plan, yet the research revealed that the second highest cause of stress for people is a result of arguments about money.

There is an easy solution available for people who are stressed out about their finances or need help to prepare a financial plan. The Plan from the Pru is a free, impartial step-by-step guide to planning your financial future - from starting work through to retirement."

Robert Allen, Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Psycho Associates agrees:- "Even though family finance is perceived as being one of the greatest causes of stress, it is one where people can gain control. In a society where debt is an accepted norm it can become easy to lose the ability to manage money effectively - anything which gives a person a feeling of financial control will certainly help towards removing at least one of life's stressors."

Southport Reporter is a Registered Trade Mark.   Copyright © Patrick Trollope 2003.