Experian and The School of Life identify the main barriers holding us back from taking the first step to positive change

London, 12 October 2016: Three in five Britons decided 2016 would be the year they’d make a positive change to feel more fulfilled in life. But while we may have started with the best of intentions, only a third of us followed through and took that important first step to achieving what we set out to do, according to research from Experian.

Experian has partnered with The School of Life, the London-based organisation devoted to developing emotional intelligence, to identify the barriers that hold us back from taking first steps to positive change. Together, Experian and The School of Life have developed an online guide to help everyone break down those barriers and feel empowered to make positive changes towards greater fulfilment and the life that is right for them.

The guide delves into the psychology that lies behind the inertia experienced by so many, and outlines practical steps people can take to overcome obstacles and reach their goals. It details four barriers that hold us back from making a change:

  1. Fear of the Unknown: “I’m not brave enough”

  2. Fear of Loss: “If I make a change, I’ll lose out on what I have done so far”

  3. Fear of Missing Out: “Everything else seems better, I just don’t know where to begin”

  4. The Duty Trap: “I can’t make a change, people wouldn’t like it”

The research conducted by Experian that underpins the project scrutinised how fulfilled we feel in our personal and professional lives, the dreams and aspirations of the nation, and the obstacles holding us back.

The Beatles were right, all we need is love

The study found that seven in ten are happy with their love lives, and out of those who have already tied the knot, an even higher percentage 85% are happy with their love lives.

When it comes to the reasons people feel unhappy with their love lives, feeling unattractive was the biggest reason, cited by 15% of men and 23% of women.

When asked ‘If there was one first step in life you could take that seems out of reach, what would it be?’ 9% of men and 7% of women said it was finding love. In London and Manchester 11% said it was finding love.

Career changes aren’t all about money

In the world of work, half of us (48%) are looking for a career change, with three in every five of those wanting a change being driven by money. But for some, career change is more about fulfilment. Surprisingly, more than two in five Brits feel they do not use their brain on a daily basis, while more than half (54%) say they don’t feel like they are challenging themselves.

It seems dissatisfaction with our careers is alleviated by romantic relationships. While 46% of singletons are worried about their careers, only 25% of married people have career concerns.

The younger generation is particularly restless, with 70% of 25-34 year olds thinking about a change – the highest proportion of any age group.

People are more worried about money than their health

Looking at our general wellbeing, the biggest worry for most Brits is money. 58% say this is true for them, just beating health into second place (53%). Only half of us (57%) believe that doing more exercise is the most important step to improving our health and general wellbeing, while 30% say eliminating stress is key.

One in four say they don’t have the motivation to start getting their health in check, while almost one in five (17%) cite money as the main obstacle holding them back.

Experian’s Clive Lawson said “Whether it’s sorting out your love life, getting out of a job rut, or getting your finances in check, change always begins with a crucial first step. That’s why we’ve partnered with the School of Life to help everyone break down the barriers and make a positive change in their lives. At Experian, we’re committed to helping everyone take their first step to better financial control, which is why we have just announced that the Experian Credit Score, the nation’s most trusted credit score2, is now available free for everyone3, forever.”

Money constraints are a blocker

The research suggests many people feel that money is what’s holding many back from living more fulfilled lives and a quarter of us are yet to act on any big plans for this year. 42% of those who had life changes on the agenda have failed to make the changes due to money issues.

More than a quarter of people (26%) say their finances are out of control, and more than half (51%) feel they would be happier if they had better control of their money.

Clive Lawson continued: “28% of people find it difficult to manage their money. Knowing your credit score can be an important first step to getting your finances under control. It’s like a temperature check for your finances, which can help you take the next steps to gaining control. Even if you have struggled managing money in the past, it’s never too late to make a change. Launching the Experian Credit Score for free, forever, we’re proud we can now help everyone in the UK take a simple step forward to living a happier and less stressful life.”

The research coincides with the launch of Experian’s new credit comparison tool, CreditMatcher, which has been designed to help people overcome some of their money barriers.


Notes to editors:

The poll was conducted by Censuswide across Britain in August 2016 and reached a representative sample of 3,826 UK consumers aged 16 and over.

About the Experian Credit Score

The Experian Credit Score is a guide to help people understand how lenders are likely to view their creditworthiness. Everyone should know their Experian Credit Score to help improve their financial lives, but a lot of people in the UK don’t know what it is or why it’s important. One of the main advantages of knowing your Experian Credit Score is that you will see what lenders are likely to think of your personal creditworthiness. UK lenders make the majority of lending decisions based on Experian’s credit scores.

CreditMatcher and the free Experian Credit Score complement Experian’s full suite of products designed to help people to understand their credit health and take better control of their financial futures.

To see your Experian score free for life visit Experian.co.uk

About CreditMatcher  

CreditMatcher gives you the confidence to take that first step to achieve your financial goals safely and easily:

  • Check the deals available to you before you apply: CreditMatcher matches you to products that fit your personal financial situation, without actually registering the applications or searches on your credit record.

  • Find out the likelihood of being accepted before you apply, quickly, easily and with confidence: Showing eligibility ratings for loans and credit cards, based on personalised credit information, CreditMatcher tells you the likelihood of being accepted for these products. Products are shown with an Experian Eligibility Rating, giving people greater certainty when they apply for credit and helping to avoid unsuccessful applications.

  • Understand your credit health: Together, the Experian Credit Score and CreditMatcher help you understand how lenders are likely to assess your credit information and how your credit history may affect your chances of getting credit applications approved in the future. 

Each time you apply for credit, a hard search is recorded on your credit report. Multiple applications can damage your score and are visible to potential lenders, who may view these as a negative factor when assessing applications. CreditMatcher leaves a soft search which lenders cannot see. So, searching and comparing credit products doesn't affect your creditworthiness in any way.


Jill O’Connor

Mobile: +44 (0) 7964 903729

Email: Jill.OConnor@experian.com


Holly Jeffries

Mobile: +44 (0) 7824 504566

Email: holly.jeffries@marlinpr.com 

About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2015, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.

We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2016 was US$4.6 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit http://www.experianplc.com or watch our documentary, ‘Inside Experian’.