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Helping people climb the wall of worry

20 Dec 2017

Are you looking forward to seeing the back of 2017? If you are, you’re not alone. We wanted to capture the mood of the UK, so we asked YouGov to conduct a survey on what people were thinking about.

First the good news. Despite the seemingly endlessly depressing news cycle, our survey showed that most people are still optimists by nature. An impressive 62% of the people we polled told us they were positive about their life and present situation.

Yet the poll also indicates that we’re worrying more. Almost half of us (49%) are concerned about our life and current situation.

Survey results: Not optimistic vs worried   

Baby-boomers vs millennials

Most respondents to our YouGov survey believe they’re worse off than their parents’ generation. The average is 54%, but millennials overwhelmingly believe so (77%), followed by the middle-aged (61%), those on lower incomes (58%), and females (57%).

Survey results: age group view on worry levels

What are people most worried about?

The middle-aged were the first generation to experience the freedom of expression and individuality that was the hallmark of the 1960s. Now, health, extremism, and rising prices are their biggest concerns. In fact, healthcare and the NHS was the biggest worry for all segments of our YouGov poll – both now, and in the future.

Survey results: what are people worried about


What’s the cause of sleepless nights?

We also asked what was keeping people awake at night, and it came as no surprise that these worries are far more personal in nature. Most (34%) told us that their biggest concern was having enough money to live and pay their bills. This was closely followed by worries about health, with 33% kept awake by worries about their own health or the health of their family. Lower down the list of worries was work or work prospects (20%), living situation (18%) and supporting family members (18%).  

Our health is our greatest asset, so it’s no wonder it’s top of the worry charts. However, our survey suggested that different demographic groups have worries that are unique to them. For example, millennials are more sensitive to environmental issues, whereas people aged 55+ were more concerned about the rise of extremism.

People don’t think the future will be better

Survey results: What people are extremely worried about

Worry itself isn’t a bad thing. It’s a normal physiological response to the unpredictability of important life events. The ol’ ‘fight or flight’ syndrome in action. In the past, it readied us to battle or escape the consequences of our decisions. But now, it’s more commonly a source of stress, and left unchecked, it can overwhelm us.

So, what’s to be done?

We’re all scaling that wall of worry, but here at Octopus we’ve been putting our sense of optimism to good use, by helping people look after their health, their wealth, and the environment. Which is why:

  • Octopus Healthcare is working with GPs and practice managers to invest in new healthcare facilities that will improve the well-being of thousands of patients across the UK.
  • Octopus Energy is making clean, renewable energy more affordable, by providing one of the cheapest renewable tariffs on the market.
  • Octopus Investments is helping people to look after their wealth by offering simple, jargon-free savings and investment products that are designed to help more people reach their long-term financial goals.

Worries stem from uncertainty, so overcoming them requires a bit more confidence that tomorrow will be better than today. Here at Octopus we see it as our job to find ways to give people confidence in the future and much less to worry about in the here and now.

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