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48% of Kenyans are feeling financially stressed, new Old Mutual Group survey finds

Nearly half of Kenyans have admitted to being stressed about their personal finances these days, and a majority — 48% — of workers said their financial stress has increased since before the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020, according to a new report by financial services monitor, Old Mutual Group.

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  • Inflation, lower incomes, and economic stagnation have caused many Kenyans to feel financially stressed.
  • According to a survey, 48% of workers said their financial stress has increased since before the Covid-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
  • The survey observed that most working-class Kenyans also fall in the “sandwich generation”, meaning that they have both their children and elderly parents relying on them financially.
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Most of those dealing with financial stress say it has impacted their social well-being. The survey revealed that most working-class Kenyans fall in the “sandwich generation”, meaning that they have both their children and elderly parents relying on them financially.

According to the survey, about 75 per cent of the working class have children dependants, while 58 per cent have elders relying on them. The survey also showed that

46 per cent of Kenyan adults currently care for their children and parents.

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Speaking to The Nation, Nanzala Mwaura, chief growth officer at research firm Ipsos, explained, "The sandwich generation is growing because of two trends; first, life expectancy has moved up, so people are looking after their parents long into their own retirement. Secondly, the children are not getting independent fast enough.”

Another interesting insight from the survey points to an overall poor state of financial well-being as nearly 41 per cent of Kenyans have had to borrow from friends and family to make ends meet, while about 38 per cent have had to dip into their savings to pay their bills.

The survey stated that 40 per cent of those taking loans from different sources are doing so to stock or equip their businesses, while about 38 per cent are borrowing to meet everyday needs, and 33 per cent do it to meet unexpected expenses like school fees, medical needs, and household repairs.

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Regarding saving, the survey reported that 74 per cent of Kenyans are not saving for retirement, even though they acknowledge that it is important. Less than 50 per cent believe their children will take care of them in old age, while 14 per cent think the government will take care of them.

These concerns are reflected in a notable shift in how Kenyans embrace the gig economy, with about 22 per cent of Kenyans now turning to side hustles, contract work and second jobs to supplement income.

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