Time to Talk: Money concerns can affect your mental health
In the UK, money is still something of a taboo subject. We rarely discuss our financial health and concerns, yet it’s a topic that affects us all. An open conversation about money can mean more than simply improving your financial health, it can support mental wellbeing too.
Time to Talk Day, which was on 4th February 2021 is a national campaign that aims to get more people talking about their mental health problems and help change the way we think about them. Mental health covers a broad range of areas, and around one in four people will experience a mental health problem this year. A huge range of factors influence mental health, and money and our relationship with it is one of them.
Financial impact of Covid-19 affecting the mental health of a third of Brits
Covid-19 has had a far-reaching impact on our lives. Social distancing restrictions mean it’s affecting social lives, but for many it’s also affected the way they work in some way, leading to a rise in financial concerns.
More than half (55%) of adults aged between 45 and 54 are more worried about their financial situation now than they were before lockdown, according to research from Aviva. With redundancies rising and unemployment expected to reach 7.5% in the coming quarter, according to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, it’s not surprising thousands of people are worried about their financial situation.
Understandably, this is also affecting mental health. Almost two in five have said they are having trouble sleeping and 30% said it is causing mental health problems, like stress and anxiety. Some 19% said they are also experiencing physical health problems, such as not exercising or over-eating, as a result of the worry.
It’s not just this age bracket that’s affected either. One in six middle-aged Brits said their adult children have become more financially dependent on them because of Covid-19. This is placing pressure on both generations.
Even if you feel financially comfortable now, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to financial concerns and the impact it can have on your mental wellbeing. You may worry about whether you’ve saved ‘enough’ for retirement. Or you have concerns about the financial health of loved ones and want to lend support, but worry it could affect own financial stability, for example.
Poor mental health can have a significant and, in some cases, long-lasting impact. But even small steps can help feel more in control and confident about your situation.
Discussing financial concerns can improve your mental health
If you’re worried about money, being open about your concerns with those you trust can be the first step to feeling better.
Six in ten mid-life adults who discussed their finances with a family member or close friend felt better for having discussed it. Sometimes simply getting it off your chest and knowing that other people have similar concerns can improve your outlook. However, it comes with other benefits too. Almost half (49%) said they felt less embarrassed when talking about money and 48% said they had learnt about new options for their finances having had a conversation.
Making money less of a taboo subject can help us all feel more in control of our finances and future, whether it’s day-to-day expenses or pensions you’re concerned about.
Arranging a meeting with a financial adviser
While talking to loved ones more openly about money is a positive first step, at times seeking advice from a financial professional makes sense.
Speaking to a financial adviser is often associated with going through your assets and understanding their value. But this is only a very small part of the financial planning process. The beginning of the process starts with understanding what you want to achieve and what your concerns are. Rather than looking at assets as a purely monetary value, this helps you understand how your finances can help you secure the life you want and provide peace of mind. Some of the questions the financial planning process can help with include:
- Do I have enough in my pension to last through retirement?
- Can I afford to help children or grandchildren financially?
- What should I do with my savings to help me achieve my goals?
- What steps can I take to ensure financial security if something unexpected were to happen?
As financial advisers, our goal is to help you have confidence in your finances and the decisions you need to make. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, which is why talking about money and how it relates to your goals and worries, including the impact on your mental health, is so important.
Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss your financial plan with one of our advisers.