A third (36%) of Brits – equivalent to 11.8 million people – would be in financial arrears within a month if they lost their job tomorrow, a poll reveals.
The figure rises to 51% among people who rent their homes, according to the research by AA Financial Services.
Official data shows the UK’s savings ratio remains at a near record low and many Brits are spending more than they earn.
Three in 10 respondents said they borrowed money to pay for Christmas.
One in four (27%) said they will be cutting back on luxuries this year and one in five (20%) plan to get rid of their credit cards.
James Fairclough, director of AA Financial Services, said it was concerning that so many people would not be able to maintain their lifestyle and provide for their families beyond a month should their circumstances change suddenly.
“This safety net is an essential part of being able to plan and stay on top of finances, and is key to minimising any anxieties people may have about their future,” he warned.
He added that as life expectancy gradually rises, the focus on staying on top of debt today becomes sharper.