Worried about money? You’re not alone. More than a third of Brits feel anxious when they think about their financial situation. In fact, according to the Money and Pensions Service, almost half of all UK adults don’t feel confident about money management.
Critical Research recently carried out a survey of more than 10,000 adults on behalf of the Money and Pensions Service. The Financial Wellbeing Survey found that the people who are most concerned about money are young people, parents and private renters.
Not surprisingly, this research has revealed that there has been a drop in money management confidence because of the pandemic.
November sees the launch of Talk Money Week, the Money and Pension Service’s annual campaign. Opening up about financial worries and money management is a huge step towards overcoming problems. Honest conversations about money are more important than ever at the moment.
Sarah Porretta, propositions, insights and external engagement director at the Money and Pensions Service, highlights the extra money management anxieties people face just before Christmas.
She explains, “For those who are struggling financially, money worries can be particularly challenging at this time of year, coming up to the festive period when many of us hope to socialise more frequently or feel under pressure to spend more on gifts, and when the costs of heating your home may rise.”
Why do we avoid conversations about money?
Discussing finances can sometimes lead to arguments, so sometimes it seems easier to avoid the topic. Some people might feel embarrassed or ashamed if they are struggling to cope financially. The older generation believes that it’s not quite polite to talk about money.
That’s why it’s a good idea to start a gentle discussion with a friend or family member if you think they may be in difficulties.
MoneyHelper is a government-backed service providing free money and pensions guidance over the phone, online and face to face. The website offers advice on how to talk about money.
Money management tools
As well as talking about money, MoneyHelper offers many tools and strategies that can help with money management. For some people, creating a budget or managing the interest on credit card debt can seem overwhelming. This can make it difficult to know where to start.
MoneyHelper recommends its Couch to Financial Fitness programme. This ten-week plan starts with the basics and then builds up your money management skills. By week four, you will be starting to build up some savings.
Online tools and apps are a great way for people to keep money management private. However, it still helps to talk to someone to get money management worries into perspective. This is especially important if money worries are affecting your mental health.
Adapting finances after lockdown
If your financial situation has been affected by the pandemic, then MoneyHelper’s Money Navigator tool can point you in the right direction.
Many people were forced to switch careers during the lockdown, and even move entirely out of affected sectors like the entertainment industry.
Bron Davies, a 25-year-old project manager from Cardiff, lost her job as a theatre producer and now has to manage on £5,000 less per year. She used Couch to Financial Fitness to get back on track with her finances and re-establish her savings goals.
Talking about her situation, Bron said, “I found myself in a situation that felt quite hopeless, and I was disappointed in myself. Now I’m feeling a whole lot better.”
So, it’s clear that getting timely help, rather than blaming yourself, is the best way to deal with financial challenges.
Money management and debt
Debt can be a difficult topic to discuss with your family, especially if they are unknowingly affected. Speaking to a trained advisor improves outcomes for people and families in debt.
After acting on free debt advice, 63% of people reduce or pay off their debts within three to six months. You can call MoneyHelper on 0800 138 7777, or use the webchat or WhatsApp service.
Money management and children
It’s never too early to start educating children about money management. Although the topic of money is part of the National Curriculum, there is very limited time to focus on it at school. As a result, it’s down to parents and families to encourage healthy money management habits in children.
MoneyHelper has specific advice for each age group and plenty of fun ideas for getting kids involved in budgeting and saving.
Start a conversation about money management this Talk Money Week, and beyond. It could be one of the best ways to restore financial confidence after a difficult year.
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