Brits feel pandemic paralysis as they struggle to make decisions on future

By Richard Jenkins
Friday, 17th September 2021, 12:11 pm

Brits are facing a case of pandemic paralysis – with millions feeling overwhelmed with decisions post-lockdown. More than 7.9 million* (18%) UK adults are now most likely to put off decisions about money matters while 23% will delay decisions about their health (like going to the GP), and 21% will postpone social plans.

Four in 10 (42%) Brits said they feel like they are being asked to make more decisions than ever before and a third (34%) admitted it takes them longer to make decisions than it did pre-pandemic. According to the new report from ClearScore and decision-making expert Dr Briony Pulford, less than a quarter of UK adults (23%) now consider themselves to be decisive – and more than half (53%) said their indecision causes them to delay action, or even take none at all.

Biggest procrastinators

According to the findings, 35-44 year olds are the biggest procrastinators with half of this age group (50%) delaying a decision if they feel unsure. Gen Z consider making choices relating to personal finances more stressful than choosing to break up with someone or asking for a pay rise (22% versus 16% and 6%). They are also the most likely to avoid money related decisions, with more than a quarter (26%) of 18-24 year olds admitting so.

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    A worrying 15million (34%) Brits are kept awake at night by the thought of making the ‘wrong’ decision and four in 10 (42%) would question themselves if asked “Are you sure?” – even if they’d felt confident before. Partners are the most stress-inducing person to ask the question, as more than a quarter (26%) rank being quizzed by their other half as more stressful than someone from work (20%) or someone they don’t know (19%).

    Dr Pulford has teamed up with ClearScore to empower Brits to feel sure about more of their decisions, particularly when it comes to their finances.

    Dr Pulford explains: “Feeling under pressure or out of our comfort zone makes it harder to reach decisions. Given the year we have all been through, it’s no surprise many are finding it tough to make choices quickly, without questioning themselves too much. This indecision limbo makes those feelings of pressure worse – in fact, our research showed words such as ‘stress’ and ‘anxiety’ frequently cropped up when we asked people about their feelings around decision-making.”

    “There is a balance. We need to feel unsure some of the time when we are naive and uninformed because it prompts us to seek more information – meaning we get to better conclusions. But excessive or long-term uncertainty can be bad for us physically and psychologically. The good news is there are lots of ways we can feel sure – from managing the number of decisions we have to make, to getting the best guidance.”

    Most decisions in your 30s

    Your 30s are the age when people think you make the most decisions (43%) but the report also highlights younger people are those facing the biggest sense of uncertainty at the moment. Two thirds (66%) of 18-24 year olds feel they have to make more decisions now than pre-pandemic versus just 30% of over 55s. Women are more likely to be kept awake by the thought of getting a big decision wrong compared to men (40% vs 28%) and also find being asked ‘are you sure?’ more stressful (30% vs 19% of men).

    Justin Basini, CEO and Co-founder of ClearScore, says: “The past 18 months have been extremely uncertain. With changes in rules and restrictions chopping and changing in all areas of our lives – from travel to finances – it’s no surprise so many people are feeling unsure and overwhelmed.

    “Feeling confident in our decisions is key to getting on in life. If we feel sure, particularly when it comes to our finances, we can look to the future with less stress and more possibility. We’re creating the town of Surely as part of our wider mission to help everyone in the UK become ClearScore sure about their finances. In Surely, we’ll be giving people the tools and confidence that they need to feel more empowered in their decisions. And with our free app, everyone in Surely and beyond will be able to take control of their credit choices.”

    On Friday 17th September, ClearScore will be helping the West Midlands town of Shirley feel sure about all their important decisions when - for one day - it is transformed into the town of Surely. Unveiled by local legend, ex-sure-shot-striker and positivity champion Dion Dublin, Surely will play host to a variety of sure-inspiring activities – including motivational speeches by sports psychologist Dr Josephine Perry, on-the-ground support for locals from The Money Charity and ‘Sure-tea’ breaks throughout the day. Dublin and Perry will even be delivering a personalised message to Year 6 of a local primary school to help kick-off their final year of primary school feeling sure of success.

    Sure-shot and confidence champion Dion Dublin said: “Everyone deserves to feel sure and the last 18 months have been uncertain for us all. Sometimes we need to be open to the guidance of others, and sometimes we need to remind ourselves of our own strengths. I have had to do that in my career many times – both as a professional footballer but also in my life now. It’s great to be sharing some of those experiences with the town of Surely for ClearScore today.”

    Local legend and former footballer, Dion Dublin, visits Monkspath Infant and Junior School, Shirley, to give a very different type of team talk – in collaboration with ClearScore - to help pupils improve their confidence of and off the pitch after research showed Brits are suffering pandemic paralysis, putting off vital money, health and social decisions.

    Three top tips on how to feel sure from Dr Briony Pulford:

    Reduce decisions. If decision-making causes you stress, then try to reduce the number that you have to make. Separate the necessary choices and make those your focus.

    Get advice. Don’t assume that your knowledge is perfect. Get a second (or third) opinion. Other perspectives, other people with different life experience and knowledge can help you to understand a situation more fully, giving you confidence.

    Be open minded to new information. Lots of new information can feel confusing, but the jigsaw will fit together as you add new pieces, and you’ll see how it all connects eventually.

    Three top tips on feeling financially sure, when it comes to your credit score, from Justin Basini:

    Use an eligibility checker. Avoid getting rejected for credit by using an eligibility check or a 'soft search' before you apply. ClearScore’s ‘Offers’ section shows you financial products alongside your eligibility percentage (e.g. 90%) so you can weigh up the risks and know how likely you are to get a credit product without impacting your credit rating. If you score 100%, you could even be pre-approved.

    Fix mistakes on your report. Your credit score is based on the information held in your credit report. If this information isn't correct (e.g. an account appearing as 'open' when it is 'closed') then your credit score won't be either. Checking your report regularly and fixing any mistakes can help you feel sure your credit score is accurate.

    Boost your score. Simple steps like getting your name on bills if it isn’t already and making sure you’re on the electoral roll can help improve the way you're viewed by lenders, and boost your chances of getting accepted for credit.

    ClearScore empowers people to make financial decisions and create the future they deserve. This includes its brand new Triple Lock guarantee, giving people confidence when they take out a credit card or a loan with a guaranteed credit limit, guaranteed interest rates and pre-approved offers.

    To feel ClearScore sure about your finances download the app on IOS or Android, where you can access your credit score and get personalised offers. All for free, forever.