Here in the UK, April sees the beginning of a new financial year, specifically for our personal finances and tax payments. Financial advice websites and ‘personal money’ pages of newspapers are full of advice about how we should best stash our cash to make sure we take advantage of tax breaks to save. ‘Huh. Some chance.’ You may say – and if that’s you, you’re not alone. According to the Money Advice Service, almost half of us in the UK are dealing with some kind of debt, excluding mortgages and student loans.
Disclaimer time – I’m not a qualified financial advisor and don’t pretend to be. What I’m trying to be is helpful in finding and sharing resources on this topic you may find useful.
Consultancy Willis Towers Watson’s survey of employees’ views on benefits noted a significant drop in people’s satisfaction with their financial situation – see their infographic.
Financial worries can prompt anxiety and lead to absence from work, and there’s evidence that loan repayments, low wage growth and rising costs of living are making matters worse. Whilst headlines speak about the struggles of people in the gig economy, they’re not the only ones: even those in apparently secure jobs are struggling to get by, according to research by the RSA. Their research identified a significant number of people in the UK – over 30% – who described their financial situation as ‘precarious’. Their ‘7 Portraits of Modern Work’ interactive chart is well worth a look.
So some employers are now adding financial matters to their employee wellbeing provision. Lucky you if you work in such an organisation: grab with both hands any education and support you’re offered.
But if that’s not the case for you, what can you do?
- Take a Money Health Check on the government-funded Money Advice Service site.
- Use debt charity Step Change’s ‘Debt Remedy tool‘.
- The NHS has a short and simple questionnaire, ‘Are money worries affecting your health?’ They also offer advice on ‘How to cope with money worries’.
- Mind, the mental health charity clearly explains the ways in which money worries and mental health affect each other – and identifies 5 steps to take. You may also want to check out Mental Health and Money Advice.
- Want to wise up? You can do a free online ‘Managing my money’ course with The Open University via Futurelearn, or ‘You and your money’ direct with the OU.
You may also find this post useful: Mental health at work: 7 resources