Fears of financial problems are growing, according to the Sunday edition of the Welt.
According to a survey, one in seven Germans expects to take on more debt. The federal government is also facing growing risks. Above all, the trend is dramatic.
Inflation and rising energy and food prices are of great concern to Germans. More than one in three Germans (38%) worry that they will no longer be able to make a living. This is the result of a representative inquiry commissioned by the Schufa credit rating agency and made available to Welt am Sonntag.
This means that the fear of financial problems has increased significantly in a few months. Only in January of this year, only one in four citizens (28%) shared the concern that he would no longer be able to cover his expenses. For the survey, Schufa interviewed a representative population of 1,000 in May.
According to research, approx one in seven people will “most likely” need to get a loan to maintain his standard of living. According to their own statements, just as many have already been forced to borrow money from relatives, acquaintances or friends. And almost a quarter of respondents had already exceeded his bill due to the current situation.
This is the highest rate since the start of the survey series in September 2020. The effects of the war in Ukraine are also putting pressure on the general mood in the country. Nearly 2/3 (62%) are now “rather anxious” or even “very scared” about the future, according to research.
As financial concerns grow, so do expectations from the federal government. A clear 79% majority requires the state to provide financial support to consumers in the event of an economic crisis. Almost 2/3 would prefer immediate help, such as an energy subsidy. Only 15%, on the other hand, say that the state should first support the affected companies, for example through emergency aid.
As a result, further state assistance could soon be needed, said Sebastian Dullien, director of the Hans Böckler Foundation’s Institute for Macroeconomic Policy (IMK), which is close to the unions. “The major economic concerns, combined with the sharp rise in energy and food prices, show that for many households, relief packages do not adequately offset the additional costs.”
Almost no fear of losing a job
For many consumers, he said, there remains a noticeable gap and increases in food prices have not yet been offset. “The federal government may need to follow through with further relief,” Dullien predicted. On the one hand, this applies to groups that have hitherto been largely excluded – such as retirees and students. On the other hand, the economist believes that prices will remain high next year and that wage increases will not offset the loss of purchasing power.
However, only a clear minority are afraid of losing their jobs, according to research. Nearly nine in ten employees consider their job “very” or “rather” safe. “The labor market situation is good at the moment, companies are full of order books and, due to demographic developments, skilled workers are becoming increasingly rare in some sectors,” Dullien said.
However, the economist sees not insignificant risks for the future in the labor market, such as the cessation of gas supplies from Russia. Then it would be important again for the state to react quickly and support employment with short-term work and support programs.
Steffi Lemke’s Federal Consumer Protection (Greens) says the federal government has launched “comprehensive and rapidly effective relief measures” for citizens. However, there are fears that “the risks of over-indebtedness will increase, especially for lower-income households,” one spokeswoman explained. It was also important to strengthen debt counseling and insolvency.
Answering a related question, the ministry said it plans to invest one million euros a year in the sector. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Consumer Protection is working at EU level to strengthen protection against non-market interest rates and usury in all forms of lending and to ban misleading advertising.
Welfare organizations have long called for better equipment for counseling centers and the right to free debt counseling. Waiting lists at debt counseling centers are long, says Diakonie Bayern. The Corona pandemic and inflation are further exacerbating the situation of many households.