• Two in five UK adults say that the state of their finances is one of the biggest factors influencing their self-confidence
  • When it comes to self-confidence, being physically fit, having a career and owning a nice car are all less important than knowing your financial situation
  • Over a third of Brits claim financial confidence improves their posture, body language expert Judi James explores why.


They say that money can’t buy you happiness, but being in control of it could.

Marking the launch of our major Walk Tall campaign, a new study reveals that people’s finances are one of the biggest factors influencing their self-confidence, as we emerge from lockdown. This is true regardless of whether they are earning a lower or higher salary.

The survey of 2,000 UK adults found that seven in ten (67%) say taking control of their money impacts them in a positive way. In fact, two in five (39%) say that the state of their finances has more impact on their self-confidence than being physically fit and happy with their appearance (both 29%) and their career (21%).

The good news is that despite the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than eight in ten (84%) people feel confident in their ability to stay in control of their finances after having more time to focus on it during lockdown. Those in Brighton, Cardiff and Nottingham (all 91%) feel the most confident in the country.

The findings show that confidence isn’t heavily impacted by below or above average earnings. Two thirds (65%) of people earning below £20,000 a year say that having control of their finances positively impacts their self-confidence, which is similar to those earning up to £80,000 per year (69%).

Half of UK adults (50%) say they feel secure when their money is in order. In fact, more than a third (38%) acknowledge that their posture improves, leaving them with their head held high and walking a little bit taller. Women are more likely than men to notice this change (44% compared to 33% of men).

Judi James, Author of Being Confident and The Body Language Bible said:When we lack confidence, we display what would be seen as a classic fear response in the animal kingdom. This response can take two contrasting forms: Fight or Flight/Hide. Some people puff up their chests and splay in a show of fake bravado and others self-diminish, using barrier and self-comfort rituals like hunching, arm-folding and fiddling.

Genuine confidence looks congruent and assertive. We do tend to stand taller and our shoulders drop and straighten as the shoulder muscles relax. Our eye contact increases but without staring and, as our facial muscles relax, it becomes easier to produce an authentic smile that reaches the eyes and raises the cheeks.

Given this research from Vanquis shows people feel secure when their money is in order and many notice an improvement to their posture as a result, we could correlate control of money with confident body language signals in some people.

Confidence shows in the way we walk too. Our movements are synchronised and there is no rushing or over-striding. Our arms will swing gently at our sides and there will be no stuffing hands into pockets or clutching at bags as a self-protective prop.

Body symmetry is another sign of confidence. We tend to sit and stand straighter with less angling of the shoulders and our smiles are symmetric, with an even stretching of the lips and an even display of teeth.

When our body language looks confident it is usually reflecting inner confidence. This research shows finances are a big influencing factor on our inner confidence, so it’s no surprise that this is indicated by people’s posture and body language.”


The effects of ignoring our finances can be detrimental on our mental and physical health, according to the research. With three in five (60%) UK adults feel anxious when their finances are not in order, this is particularly prominent in 18-34 year olds (56%). The impact of such money worries will likely feed into feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem, confidence and posture.


Positively, the research does show that many of us feel in control of our finances by saving money (43%), checking our balance regularly (42%), budgeting (34%) and staying on top of what we owe (33%). For women – checking their balance regularly is much more significant than men (46% vs 37%).


Thomas Allder, Customer Director, from Vanquis, added: “When it comes to feeling confident, not much empowers us more than understanding our financial situation, regardless of how much we earn.

The last year has been tough on lots of people, but it’s great to see most people currently feel confident in their ability to stay in control of their finances, after perhaps adopting better habits during lockdown.

“Knowledge really is power when it comes to tracking our spending. As the research shows, many of us feel more in control of our finances just by taking small steps like saving regularly, checking our balances and having a monthly budget in place.

“At Vanquis we offer responsible and reliable access to credit and help customers on the path to improving their credit profile. We encourage our customers to develop better financial habits, take control of their finances and improve their financial future. Enabling them to face the world with confidence and walk that little bit taller. 


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Notes to Editors


For interviews, assets or any other information please contact:

Third City

Cam Ives: 07935 006 840



The research was conducted by Opinium with an online survey of 2,000 UK adults (18 and over), between 14th – 18th May 2021. Results are weighted to be nationally representative where relevant.