Women in Ireland far more focused on health than men in 2020

Money is the biggest source of worry for Irish people for fifth consecutive year of survey


Published  28 February 2020
   6 min read

What will you focus on this year? That was the question posed by leading protection specialist Royal London to 1,000 people nationwide, in the latest instalment of its protection survey series. The research, which was undertaken by iReach, sought to ascertain for the fifth year running, the ‘pulse of the nation’ when it comes to what is important in the year ahead, and what is causing us to worry.

While physical health tops the poll of what people want to focus on this year, with 31% saying that this is their planned focus, money is likely to be the primary source of worry. 40% of people agreed this will be their main concern in 2020. When it comes to overall health, there are substantial differences between the views of men and women. Almost 5 out of 10 (47%) women say that their biggest focus will be on either their physical or mental health, whereas only 3 in 10 (32%) men say the same.

Speaking of the findings Joe Charles, Head of Proposition at Royal London, said,

“This is the fifth consecutive year that we have put these questions to the Irish public to gain insight into people’s motivations and concerns. What’s very interesting is that year-on-year health, career and travel have come in as people’s top three focuses for the year ahead, and money, health and family have come in as the top three worries. It just goes to show that as individual as we all are, we all still have similar life challenges and aspirations.”

What’s your focus?

Mr. Charles spoke of the Royal London analysis,

“Year-on-year we see some gender-based differences come to light in the results, and this year is no different. Women seem to be far more likely to focus on health of some sort, either physical or mental, at 47% compared with 32% of men. On the other hand, men are far more likely to focus on their career (26% of men compared to 16% of women).”

Young and Old

The Royal London survey reveals that:

  • The youngest cohort of respondents (18-24) were the most likely to focus on their career (44%) and none of this group planned any focus on property this year.
  • Physical health was least important to those aged 25–34 (7%) and most important to those aged 55 and over (49%).
  • Travel is more popular as people get older, with 20% of 45–54-year old’s saying it was their focus, and 25% of those aged 55 and over.
  • Mental Health is the area of focus with most consistency across the age groups.
  • Those aged between 25 and 44 (36%) are most focused on property related actions this year.

Mr. Charles commented,

“It’s not too surprising that people in their late twenties through to early forties are most focused on property. Dubliners are also more likely to be focused on property (14%) compared to the rest of the country.”

Mr. Charles commented on the findings,

“Double the number of people worry about money than health (40%:21%), and these are the top two sources of worry. While men and women are aligned in their views of these top two worries, there are some interesting differences. Twice as many women compared to men are concerned about loneliness (10%:5%), while men are more worried about work (13%:8%).”

Young and Old

The Royal London survey reveals that:

  • Those aged above 55 have the least money worries; 29% compared with 49% of those in the 25-34 bracket.
  • Work is the greatest cause of worry for 19% of 18–24-year olds, which is above the result of 11% for all adults.
  • Understandably, concerns over health grow significantly with age; just 4% of those aged 18-24 say it’s a big worry, while 38% of those aged 55 and over feel it’s their biggest concern.
  • The biggest portion of respondents who said friends and romantic relationships are their greatest worry were those aged 18–24, with 20% feeling this way, compared to 8% of those aged 25-34.

Mr. Charles commented,

“It’s good to see that although money is a key concern for people, as we get older, we appear to become more financially secure, with just 29% of those aged over 55 citing money as their number one worry, compared to 40% of all adults.

“Work can obviously become a source of worry for people of any age, but it is interesting to see that 18-24-year old’s were the most concerned age group at 19%. This could possibly indicate that, understandably, starting out in the labour market can be a daunting process for many.”


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Note to the editor

Biggest Focus

Category 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Health 40% 36% 32% 37% 40%
Career 21% 26% 23% 26% 21%
Travel 17% 14% 17% 13% 13%
Property 9% 10% 9% 8% 9%
Family 9% 9% 13% 10% 12%
Love 4% 5% 6% 6% 5%

Biggest Worry

Category 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
Money 40% 39% 46% 37% 46%
Health 21% 19% 15% 18% 19%
Family 14% 15% 15% 22% 14%
Work 11% 13% 11% 8% 10%
Loneliness 7% 7% 6% 8% 4%
Relationship / Love 4% 5% 5% 6% 5%
Friends 3% 2% 2% 1% 2%


About Royal London

Royal London has a history of protecting our policyholders and their families for over 190 years in Ireland, and we’re committed to continue to do so for a long time to come. Today we are owned by The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited – the largest financial life, pensions and investments mutual in the UK, with 4,046 people, providing around 8.8 million policies and more than €145 billion in Group funds under management. (Figures as at June 2019).

Royal London’s Irish office is based at 47-49 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.