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Credit crunch personality types revealed

Posted June 1, 2008 - Press Releases

Study identifies the six credit crunch personality types.

Over half of the UK population are worried about the onset of credit crunch. But 27% admit they avoid addressing their financial situation even if they are having monetary problems.

Are you a serious saver like Ian Beale, or a risk taking opportunist like Derrick “Del Boy” Trotter? According to research released today by Freeview, the UK’s most watched digital TV service, Brits adopt one of six distinct personality types when dealing with economic instability.

‘The Freeview Guide to the Credit Crunch’ developed by Professor Geoff Beattie, Head of Psychological Sciences at the University of Manchester, examines the financial attitudes and behaviour of 2,000 adults providing an illuminating insight into the likely effects of the credit crunch.

The research reveals that over half of the UK population (55%) claims to be worried about the onset of credit crunch, however over a quarter (27%) will avoid addressing their financial situation even when they have monetary problems.

The findings also clearly identify the six economic tribes – the Shrew, the Ostrich, the Denier, the Alarmist, the Drifter and the Opportunist and reveal the basic strategies these distinct personality types use to cope with times of financial insecurity.

The most popular personality type is the Shrew, so named to reflect their propensity to take careful and regular stock of money matters and find searching for the best value deals rewarding. Two fifths of the population (43%) fit into this category, with a canny 71% of respondents who identify themselves as Shrews divulging that they are seldom in debt and more than two thirds that they keep a careful track of media stories around credit crunch (68%). A staggering number spend time shopping around for the best deal, researching everything from household suppliers such as TV service providers and utility companies (84%) to banks and building societies (72%). Ian Beale the tight Eastenders scrimper is held up as a classic example of this personality type, with Claire Peacock from Coronation Street as his female counterpart!

Almost as popular is the tribe of Drifters with over a quarter of respondents (29%) reporting that they are happy to coast through the credit crunch without changing their spending and saving habits. For the majority of this group, money was not their main motivator, rating family (55%), love (14%) and friends (11%) as more important than financial security. This reflects the attitude of the nation’s favourite lovable slobs; Frank Gallagher from Shameless and Ricky Tomlinson from The Royle Family.

The Ostrich category refers to people who tend to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to financial matters. 8% of Brits fit this mould, with 38% of these admitting that they don’t always open their bank statements and 31% that they cannot list even half of the direct debits or standing orders that leave their bank account each month. More than a quarter of respondents (26%) who fall into this category predict that they are likely to have long running contracts such as gym memberships and TV subscriptions that they don’t use. Nessa from Gavin and Stacey teams up with hunky Joey Tribbiani from Friends to best illustrate this personality type.

The most likely to panic in the face of the credit crunch are the Alarmists, who account for 7% of the population. Of those identified as belonging to this category, roughly half admit to being very concerned about the credit crunch (49%) and two thirds of respondents even noted that they had reined in their spending (66%). Over half (53%) reveal that they are considering taking further action to get through the credit crunch, such as re-mortgaging their house, cancelling ongoing subscriptions and in some cases even selling all their items at a car boot sale. One can only imagine the drastic measure Mark Corrigan from Peep Show or Frank Spencer from Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em would take to avoid financial instability.

The Denier is represented by Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City or Susan Mayer from Desperate House Wives. These glamorous women join the 7% of Brits who know that they have some financial problems but do not want to address the issues. Within this personality type, 61% feel that even when they ealize they are in debt they like to think that their situation will improve, while over two fifths (41%) will avoid opening bank statements because they can’t face seeing their rising levels of debt. Many of the respondents who fit this category (37%) will not be making any plans to improve their financial situation during the credit crunch.

Contrary to perceived doom and gloom a small percentage of the population (6%) fit into the Opportunists category, viewing the credit crunch as a chance for them to possibly benefit from other’s financial misery. Of these, 21% reported feeling upbeat about the current financial climate, with 76% reporting that they are willing to take financial risks during the next year, from buying a new car (13%) to thinking about buying a place in the sun (18%). The wheeler and dealer lifestyle of Derrick “Del Boy” Trotter or the X Factor’s Mr Nasty Simon Cowell are prime examples of this personality type.

Regional Variations
Across the regions, residents in Northern Ireland are the most likely to be concerned about the onset of the credit crunch (61%) whereas those in the South West seem to be unfazed by its arrival, with just 46% feeling concerned.

The Welsh are the most likely to bury their head in the sand when it comes to money, with one in three (33%) admitting that they avoid addressing their financial situation when they have monetary problems. But it is the Scots who lead as the most optimistic during times of financial difficulty, with 40% of them believing they might even make a financial gain during the credit crunch.

Shrewd Choices

Ilse Howling, Managing Director of Freeview says; “Great digital telly is free with Freeview and it will save you money – as much as £350 a year compared to subscription TV services. In the current economic climate every penny counts as our discovered tribe of ‘Shrews’ appear to know full well.”

Professor Geoff Beattie says; “This research threw up some interesting results – not least that while the majority of people claim to be shrewd savers, many are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to their financial situation. Overall Brits seem to have a high level of awareness of the oncoming credit crunch, but the trick now will be to look at money-saving options.”

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