Three quarters of British adults are concerned about their financial situation, many facing immediate financial hardship in the event of a sudden loss of income.
Workplace savings company Salary Finance's survey of 2,000 people found almost two thirds were worried about how they would cope if they lost their job or received an unexpected bill.
One in five respondents said they had no savings at all, with one in 20 fearing they could not last a week without hitting financial hardship.
Asesh Sarkar, chief executive and co-founder of Salary Finance, said money worries affected about 40 per cent of UK employees.
He said: "For those that are already living payday to payday, the idea of something unexpected happening, such as a job loss or a large bill, can be a large source of stress.
"Saving for a rainy-day fund is difficult for many people, if it wasn’t everyone would have one. However, it can really take some of the pressure off and help avoid high cost loans, especially if something does go wrong."
The survey found 34 per cent of people had no back up plan in the event of finding themselves with no income.
Some 14 per cent said they would go into their overdraft, while a further 10 per cent said they would rely on credit cards, potentially building up interest.
However, Victor Sacks, founder of VS Associates in Cambridgeshire, said attitudes to saving could be changed with even a little more education and engagement.
He said: "We can all change and get used to the discipline. People just need to get used to saving."
Just more than half of respondents said they needed to make more effort with saving, while just less than half said they regretted not putting money away regularly.
Mr Sacks pointed out that many advisers offered free initial consultations.
He said: "There are always people who will find themselves in tough conditions through no fault of their own. But for most, we can help them with a positive attitude and change their mindset about saving."