The majority of Belgians are not ‘financially healthy’

The majority of Belgians are not financially sound. This emerged from an analysis conducted by Deloitte in collaboration with Ghent University and Argentine Bank.

For their study, the three organizations conducted a survey among more than 4,000 Belgians. The study shows, among other things, that only 12% of families in Belgium are financially healthy. However, this does not mean that other families are already in dire straits or that they will turn to them very soon.

Researchers from the Universities of Argentina, Gent, and Deloitte University used four levels of health in their study. In addition to being financially healthy, they are financially unhealthy (28%), financially fragile (36%) and financially adequate (24%).

To determine who belongs to what health level, respondents explained their situation on the topics of income, spending, saving, borrowing and planning. It follows, for example, that 64% of Belgian families have great difficulty paying all bills.

However, the vast majority of these households (89%) were eventually able to pay all the bills without falling into arrears. “This does not change the fact that the average Belgian family is in the financially vulnerable category,” the researchers report.

It is also more difficult for women in our southern neighbors to be financially healthy. This also applies to Belgians between the ages of 35 and 55, people who come from a family with financial problems and those who have recently experienced a major life event.

Savings made difficult by inflation

Inflation has also risen sharply in Belgium recently. In 2022, for example, it will be no less than 10.3%, according to the federal statistics agency Statbel. This development has a significant impact on the savings habits of Belgians. For example, today 54% of them are unable to save on a monthly basis.

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At the same time, the majority of Belgian families (86%) adapt their behavior to deal with the rising cost of living. The researchers suggest that it is “in part by buying fewer groceries or other products or by consuming less energy.”

emotional side

Research also focuses on the emotional side of finances. For example, 61% of respondents feel powerless when they think about their financial situation. Nor do half of Belgians know how to gain more insight into their future financial situation. And this is very annoying, says Professor Chris Bodt of Ghent University.

“A population that is financially healthy has a huge positive impact on society as a whole. We need to give people a push to develop confidence in their financial skills. We can only achieve effective behavioral change through broader awareness.”

Holland

Recently, Dutch clinic Deloitte – in collaboration with ING, Nibud and Leiden University – conducted a similar study on the financial health of our population. This study shows, among other things, that most families here are not very healthy financially either.

On average, however, our country is slightly healthier than Belgium. In the Netherlands, for example, 60% of families belong to the categories of financially unhealthy and financially vulnerable, while in Belgium this concerns 64% of families.

However, somewhat more Belgians than the Dutch (19%) belong to the financially adequate category. On the other hand, almost twice as many Dutch families (21%) are within a sound financial level.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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