These are difficult times. The pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty to our lives, and many people are facing job loss or financial difficulties. We all know someone who’s financial situation has taken a turn for the worst, you might have lost your job or are worried about your financial future – these issues can have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
Whilst money worries can make you feel very lonely at times, it’s important to recognise that we are not alone. More than 23% of the UK population are now in poverty according to a report by Legatum Institute, and latest numbers issued by O.N.S. show that UK debt has exceeded £2 trillion for the first time, with public sector net borrowing estimated to have been £34.1 billion last December, a huge £28.2 billion more than in December 2019.
The effects COVID-19 has had in business today
COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on our lives:
- Many businesses have had to close due to lack of customers as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
- Other businesses have struggled and due to excessive debts have had to cease trading.
- Family members, parents, children have got into debt for a variety of reasons associated with working from home and home learning with their children and the online activities of their children due to staying at home.
- With levels of food insecurity in Britain the highest in Europe , some of us are going hungry to feed our children, and some have no money to buy electronic devices to assist with home schooling.
- Some have been made redundant, others are furloughed.
- Some sick employees have exceeded their sickness benefits provided by their employer and Statutory Sick pay has stopped. The NHS services have delayed treatment due to the need to address COVID-19 cases.
Getting a good night’s sleep
Debt and money worries keep us awake at night, with a recent poll by You Gov revealing that more than a third of people in employment said that money worries had stopped them getting a good night’s sleep.
Worrying about money often leads to stress, anxiety and depression and, in some cases, suicide. It can become a vicious circle, with poor mental health making managing money harder, and then worrying about money making mental health suffer. We avoid talking to others and reaching out for help, which in turn can exacerbate the issue.
Why is money so hard to talk about?
YouGov research commissioned by Lloyds Bank found that half of UK adults believe ‘talking about personal money matters is taboo in everyday conversation’. This is higher than sex (42%), religion (26%) or politics (14%).
Many people feel isolated, alone and ashamed. Money worries affect all of us at some time in our lives, and it is often true that the more you earn, the more debt you can amass – debt impacts all of us.
According to the National Debt Line, 50% of UK adults who are in debt also experience mental health problems.
We all know how hard it is to talk about money yet, in a time of financial crises, we have never needed to talk about money more than we do today.
We are all in it together – so let’s start by talking
How did you learn about money?
How to up-skill and learn about money and money management
The money habits you start with usually stay with you for life. Growing up, did you have a piggy bank or savings account?
For those with children, Usborne have a brilliant book called Managing Your Money.
At school, college or university
We all know that students may end up with a degree or certificate of qualification, but they may also have developed good drinking habits and debt!
I wonder how many educational facilities run workshops on money management?
Financial worries can impact performance at work.
Research by Neyber stated that one in four employees said they had lost sleep over money troubles in the last year, one in ten said that they couldn’t focus on work and 6 percent said they had had to take time off work.
It’s in the employer’s best interest to help its people, in whichever ways they can, to achieve financial stability.
Many organisations offer an Employee Assistant Programme for debt management. From my experience, even if your business has an EAP Service with debt management included, many employees don’t really understand the benefits and how it can help them, and some feel daunted about finding out more. Setting up the programme is only the first step. Immersing your people in the programme and helping them understand the benefits and how best to use it shows the best success.
We all need someone to talk to, so taking good care of your people means providing them with the platform to talk about their worries, and to learn more about better money management. Be up front and transparent about the benefits offered to assist in longer term financial wellbeing, such as Income Protection Schemes, Critical Illness Insurance and access to confidential advice.
Supporting financial wellbeing will lead to more engaged people, and others will look and learn from your business.
Taking some steps forward to assist with managing money
Taking the time to manage your money can really pay off:
- Know what your money priorities are
- Track where you spend your money with a money diary: money in / money out
- Household bills
- Living costs
- Travel and leisure
- Your future expenses – what are you saving for? NEEDS VS. WANTS
- Keep receipts
- Save early and often, and keep some money aside for emergencies
- Manage your money and any debts you may have, try not to bury your head in the sand
- Think about important stages in your life and how best to prepare for them, such as…
- First house
- New homes
- Wedding / divorce
Reach out for help
- When it comes to money management, there are some great tools, guides and useful tips to help you manage your money better, and a range of great organisations who can help. Money Saving Expert has recently issued an article on debt evaluation and resources that can help you, from advice on furlough and mortgage holidays through to information on free debt counselling.
- There are people who are trained to help and want to help. Reach out to see what support and advice they can offer.
Sometimes, life can deliver a curve ball, and COVID-19 has certainly given that to us all. There is some comfort in the fact that we are all in this together – managing the situations in which we find ourselves in the best way we can.
If you would like to talk to me about your concerns and how I might help, please get in touch.
Please get in touch if I can help you or your team…
Tel: +44 (0)333 900 9280