Is financial insecurity the biggest threat to mental wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing is a hugely disruptive topic, and sadly, money dictates many of our lives. When you are faced with money worries, it’s hard to truly stay focused on other areas of your life.

Last year The Royal Society of Arts and Populus conducted a study with 2,000 workers called; ‘Thriving, striving or just about surviving’. According to the study, 32% of the UK’s workers had less than £500 in savings and 41% had less than £1,000. Almost 30% are concerned about their level of debt while 43% of workers do not have anyone in their household they could depend on to support them financially in the event of hardship. It’s no wonder this is one of the biggest causes of emotional stress…

56% of employees are reluctant to talk about money issues at work.

In the same vein, YouGov surveyed over 4,000 people in the UK about their relationship between their personal finances and their own mental health. Two thirds said their mental health and wellbeing is impacted by job security (66%), the economy (65%) and the cost of overall living (77%). Furthermore, 56% of people said they are reluctant to talk about money issues at work.

Gaining control of your finances

Saving habits have had to, or dramatically need to, change. Living in a time of less financial stability, with greater financial pressures and the inability for the younger generations (and older) to leap onto the property ladder is really taking its toll. The idea of renting for an endless amount of time is less than ideal for most, but is the only realistic option for many of us. It’s true that when we don’t feel in control of our finances, we can quickly lose control of other aspects of life, including social pressures, family management, etc.

32% of workers had less than £500 in savings and 41% had less than £1,000. Almost 30% are concerned about their level of debt while 43% do not have anyone in their household they could depend on to support them financially in the event of hardship.

Once you start to maintain exactly what you can and can’t commit to, budgeting (and life) gets easier. No one likes saying “no”, especially to fun stuff, but to reach the lifestyle you ultimately desire you may need to make smaller sacrifices that will help you reach the end goal.

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you save on the smaller things, and stop you from sweating the big stuff:

  • Changing banks - did you know that some banks offer a bonus £200 to join them?

  • Pension saving - whether this benefits you in 2 weeks, or 20 years, you’ll never regret saving even the smallest amounts, and putting it towards your future.

  • Start selling - have a big clear out, and sell some of the stuff you haven’t laid eyes on in years. You won’t miss it, but you’ll reap the benefits!

  • Research free things - before you tap your card, figure out whether you can actually get it for free. Have a look on local websites, people give away things all the time and it doesn’t hurt to have a little look.

  • Be part of a sharing economy - use Air BnB and rent out your place while you’re away, or rent out a car parking space you don’t need. Need to get home? Cut your cost and share a ride with Uber Pool. The sharing economy is set to grow to £9B over the next decade - get involved now!

Own it

Once you’ve started to take hold of your finances, the stress you feel should start to reduce and you can focus on the areas of life that you really want to, rather than have to.