The average adult spends the equivalent of an ENTIRE YEAR worrying about money over their lifetime – with more than a quarter admitting it is bad for their mental health.

A study of 2,000 Brits found they typically think about their finances four times-a-day, for a total of 28 minutes.

This amounts to 170 hours-a-year – the equivalent of a full week.

A quarter of adults even admitted to being distracted during their working day by trying to figure out how to stay afloat.

Money worries have become so pressing for many that 15 per cent have even been preoccupied with cash woes while driving and 13 per cent while socialising with friends.

The study, commissioned by Paragon Bank, also revealed the most common thoughts about finances include how much money will be left after the main outgoings (37 per cent) and paying household bills (36 per cent).

How to cope if a financial situation changes (25 per cent), how much money to save in a savings account (31 per cent) and paying off debts (22 per cent) were among other worries.

Derek Sprawling, savings director at Paragon Bank, said: “The study shows how much people think about money and highlights that many would benefit from a helping hand when it comes to financial planning.

“At this moment in time, improving education around managing finances is more important than ever with the prospect of job insecurity.

“The fact people are losing sleep and being distracted by worries during their working day and even when behind the wheel shows how much of a toll money worries can have on individuals.

“Financial stress clearly has an impact on mental health, but facing this worry head on and taking steps to feel more in control of finances is a good first step to improving mental wellbeing.”

The study also found more than a quarter of adults have avoided talking about finances and 27 per cent have even had a big falling out with their other half due to issues with their funds.

Currently, 16 per cent are keeping money related secrets from their loved ones and 14 per cent admitted they struggle to find the right time to bring up the topic.

A further 30 per cent have been distracted by thoughts of money while in bed and typically wake up four nights a month because of it – losing 27 minutes of sleep each time.

It also emerged that thinking about finances leaves one in three feeling anxious and a quarter of Brits feeling concerned.

But more than half said their financial fears have increased with age and 17 per cent wish there was more help and advice available.

The current economic climate has also had a big impact on people’s finances, with 27 per cent of adults feeling that their money woes have increased in the last six months during lockdown.

One in 10 have worried about not being able to afford enough food and almost one in five have been concerned about not being able to pay their bills.

More than a third are seriously worried about losing their job and income due to the pandemic.

The research, carried out via OnePoll found 11 per cent have already had to take a pay cut this year, while 16 per cent were put on furlough and one in 20 had to turn to friends and family for financial help.

Derek added: “There is a wealth of resources available online that can help people get started, including planning guides, digital budget spreadsheets and general guidance and tips.

“Our digital guide to recession-proof finances, which is available on our website, is also a good starting point for anyone looking to improve their money management skills.”

Paragon’s digital guide to recession-proofing finances is available to download:

Top 10 money worries for Brits currently:
1. How much money they’ll have left over after the main outgoings
2. Household bills
3. How much they should put into a savings account
4. Upcoming occasions e.g. buying birthday gifts
5. How they will cope if their financial situation changes
6. Interest rates
7. Paying off debts
8. Whether they can afford a holiday
9. Whether they can afford personal treats e.g. a haircut
10. Their rent / mortgage

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