Couples aged 35 to 44 hit worst by downturn
COUPLES in their thirties and forties are bearing the brunt of the downturn, new statistics reveal.
These heavily indebted households are being forced to cut back on spending on groceries, clothes and footwear and foreign holidays, while going out to the pub or restaurant is now a memory from the good days.
Eight out of 10 households have had to cut back on spending in response to the downturn, according to a new Central Statistics Office (CSO) survey.
One in five households have missed paying a bill. This translates into 320,000 households getting behind on at least one bill, as there are 1.6 million households.
And one in 10 have had to borrow from family or friends.
The biggest financial pressure is on households where the parents are between the ages of 35 and 44.
A third of households where the parents are in this age group have had to cut back on spending on at least five day-to-day expenses.
But not all households are suffering financial pain.
Almost half-a-million households, mostly made up those on good pensions, are so financially secure that they have not had to make any adjustments.
The survey also shows that one in five households have not had to cut back on any expenditure on the likes of health insurance, groceries and holidays.
Just 9pc of households of the over-55s have had to cut back, compared with 31pc of households where the parents are between 35 and 44.
The quarterly national household survey, which was conducted in April, May and June of last year, also shows:
• 79pc of households cut back their spending on at least one household expense in the two years before the survey.
• More than half of households cut back their spending on groceries and more than half cut back spending on going out.
• Almost two-thirds of households cut back their spending on clothing and footwear.
• Spending on health insurance was reduced by 15pc of households and 11pc of households cut back spending on pension contributions.
• One-fifth of households delayed or missed paying their bills in order to meet their outgoings on basic goods.
• One in 10 delayed or missed loan repayments and one in 10 delayed or missed paying their credit card bill.
• In the two years prior to the survey, 45pc of households spent some or all of their savings and 62pc reduced the amount being saved.
The situation is even more dire for the unemployed. Three out of 10 families where the parents have lost their jobs have had to resort to borrowing money from family and friends.
And half of jobless households have missed paying a bill.
The CSO said the pilot module was designed to assess at a high level how households had reacted to the recession.
It will feed into a comprehensive module on household financial distress, planned for the third quarter of this year, the CSO's Eithne Tiernan says.