Behind the Balance Sheet: the financial health of low income households

Published on Housing, Wealth and Debt

Published alongside our most recent Low Earners Audit this report summarises current statistical data relating to the financial health of low earning households, and complements this with new qualitative data to give a fuller and more accurate picture of financial health.

  • We supplement a statistical overview of the financial health of low earners with some snapshots of the financial health of the low earning households we met during the course of our research, capturing the sometimes invisible factors that nevertheless have a significant impact on how people think about their money and manage their finances.
  • The research illustrates that low earners have struggled more in the recession because of their exposed and overlooked position compared to both benefit dependent groups and higher earners. This leaves them more susceptible to falling into the benefit-dependent group in the spending squeeze to come.
  • Reflecting on the implications of this research for public policy, we argue that there are three important foundations in this field that need to be built upon, resilience, behavioural economics and financial capability. By offering fresh set of findings we hope to provide a useful challenge to some of the common assumptions that cloud the debate about how to improve the financial health of low earning households.