MOST people expect that it will take another two years before the worst is over financially for themselves and their families, an exclusive new survey shows.
Such has been the scale of the hit to family finances that most adults anticipate it will be 2013 or 2014 before their personal financial situation improves.
And 98pc of people surveyed by iReach on behalf of Irish Life and the Irish Independent expect to face financial challenges this year.
Yet despite more doom and gloom ahead of us, only four out of 10 adults have set a financial plan for the next year.
Financial advisers recommend that people sit down and draw up a budget, setting down all their income and outgoings and see where, if any, money is being wasted.
Men tend to be more organised than women when it comes to budgeting.
Almost three-quarters of the 1,000 people surveyed said they were concerned that they would not be able to cope financially over the next year.
Perhaps surprisingly, a quarter of those surveyed felt confident about their financial situation over the next 12 months.
The fact that three-quarters of adults are concerned about their finances is a huge jump on the 2010 figure, when just over half of adults expressed concern over their financial wellbeing.
Women tend to be more fearful than men, while parents are more worried than those who do not have children.
Concerns over personal finances for 2011 were most pronounced in Munster and least evident in Dublin.
A quarter of all adults are fearful of not being able to meet unexpected expenditures due to lack of savings.
This particular concern is more evident among women, the middle-aged and mature adults and across Connacht.
However, on a positive note, it appears that fear over losing a job has eased off somewhat compared with last year.
These concerns over redundancy are slightly more pronounced among women and young adults.
Many consumers are resorting to borrowing to make ends meet. The iReach research found that one third of adults were forced to borrow money to cover household expenses.
Borrowing from parents is the most common form that this takes.
A quarter of all adults have borrowed from their parents. When it comes to young adults borrowing from parents, the percentage jumps to 41pc.
Small numbers of people also borrow from friends in order to keep their household finances on an even keel.
Borrowing from moneylenders is less common -- yet as many as 9pc of young adults have used their services.
It what it likely to be an unsurprising finding, almost six out of 10 adults would consider emigrating.
This breaks down to 14pc who seriously consider moving abroad and 44pc who would consider it under a different set of circumstances.
Young adults are most likely to emigrate, with a quarter of them seriously considering heading abroad for better prospects.