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37% of people find it hard to make ends meet (RTE)

04 November 2011

17% of the population over 18 years of age does not have a current account, and 61% say they do not have a credit card.

Just over a third of people has some form of life insurance, and 43% have credit union accounts. These are among the findings of the first research into Financial Capability carried out by the Financial Regulator.

The Financial Regulator carried out this study to find out if people are making informed decisions in relation to their financial affairs. The study is called a Financial Capability report, and though the findings have been made available, the regulator is reluctant to say whether the Irish are financially capable or not.

Full analysis of the research will be published later this year. But among its most worrying preliminary findings is that 37% of people have recently had some degree of difficulty keeping up with bills and credit commitments.

For people who have recently divorced or separated this figure jumps to 60% and 62% .This research was carried out late last year, before a steep decline in retail sales and thousands of job losses.

13% of the general population has experienced financial difficulties in the last five years. In the 21 to 35 age group this goes up to 20%.

27% of people say they would not know how to go about making a complaint to a financial services firm, this compares with only 9% who say they would not know how to complain in a shop.

A quarter of the respondents said that they or their partners had, over the last three years, experienced a large and unexpected drop in income, and 16% said they had experienced a major unexpected expense, equivalent to a month's pay.