Talking about Finances

By H&T Pawnbrokers Tue, Aug 02, 2022

How sharing your money worries can improve financial and mental health

Money is the biggest cause of stress in the UK, with more than a quarter of adults experiencing financial worries on a daily basis (Perkbox). This has a negative impact on many aspects of our lives, from our relationships with loved ones to our health and productivity.

But many of us are keeping these problems to ourselves:

  • Half of UK adults believe talking about personal money matters is taboo (Lloyds Bank)
  • A quarter of couples don't feel comfortable talking about money together (M&S Bank)
  • Only 9% of surveyed adults had received regulated financial advice over the past 12 months (Financial Conduct Authority)

Why we need to talk about money more

Psychologists have long agreed that discussing your worries is an effective way to diminish them, and many of us know deep down that a problem shared is a problem halved. Simply getting your money issues off your chest can help you feel better and more able to confront them.

Plus, a fresh perspective is often the exact solution we need. Friends or family members may well be able to help you come up with a practical solution to your problem. You could even speak to a financial expert who can use their training and experience to assist you.

You should seek financial advice as soon as possible, because money problems can quickly spiral out of control, leaving you with much bigger issues than you started with. This is especially important if your actions could impact another person — the partner you share your mortgage with or the guarantor on your loan, for example.

Gaining the courage to talk about money

We come up with lots of reasons for keeping our money troubles to ourselves. Many of us find it embarrassing or rude to talk about finances or feel like our worries aren't big enough. Perhaps you're worried that you'll start an argument.

If any of these excuses are familiar, it's important to bear in mind that you are not alone. We found that 0% of Brits say they never experience financial stress; 96% experience it several times a month or more (Perkbox). Whether the issue was caused by a mistake or something outside of your control, there are probably thousands of others going through something similar. And anything that is affecting your wellbeing or health is worthy of discussion.

All of this means that friends and family are likely to have more understanding, sympathy, and empathy than you might think. When it comes to speaking to a financial adviser, lender, or bank, bear in mind that they have probably heard the same thing many times before and will simply want to help you find a solution.

How to speak to a loved one about money

If your problem affects someone else, such as your partner, it's best to speak to them first. You can then agree on a course of action together. Otherwise, you should speak to any adult you trust.

Try to seize the opportunity whenever you're together somewhere quiet and private, and ask them if they can make time for a chat, so that you can reduce the risk of any interruptions.

Some people find it easiest to go on a walk, as this gives a sense of openness and means you don't have to sit face to face. Being in public can also reduce the risk of an argument. However, you may prefer to chat over a cup of tea at home, where you can easily share important paperwork or look up information online.

Here are some other tips for a productive conversation:

  • Avoid placing blame: When speaking to someone who shares your money problem, avoid accusing them of any wrongdoing. Remember that it is you and them against the problem, not you versus them.
  • Be patient and calm: After you've shared your thoughts, give the other person a chance to think it over and respond. Avoid interrupting them when they do speak and try to stay calm if they do have a negative reaction.
  • Stick to the topic at hand: Try to stick to the matter at hand, gently steering the conversation back whenever it veers off course. Staying focussed will mean you're less likely to argue and more likely to come up with an effective solution.
  • Decide on next steps: Even if you just wanted to vent to a friend, it's a good idea to decide what's next — perhaps creating a budget or phoning the bank. This will help you to feel like you're progressing and allow you to work towards a solution.

How to speak to a professional about money

If you are concerned about your ability to pay a bill or make a loan repayment, it is crucial to contact the company as soon as possible. There is a good chance that they will be able to help you set up a more manageable payment plan. Remember that it is in their best interests to help you and that they have probably heard similar stories from lots of other customers, and the earlier you take action, the better.

There are also organisations and financial advisers out there who can offer impartial, expert advice on money matters. No matter what kind of issue you're dealing with, this can help you to understand your options and determine the best course of action.

Free money helplines

National Debtline

  • National Debtline offers free, independent, and confidential advice to people in debt. Run by the Money Advice Trust.
  • Call 0808 808 4000 (Monday–Friday, 9am–8pm)
  • More information and contact details available at nationaldebtline.org

StepChange

  • StepChange offers free, impartial debt advice.
  • Call 0800 138 1111 (Monday–Friday, 8am–8pm and Saturday, 8am–4pm)
  • More information and contact details available at stepchange.org

Citizens Advice

  • Citizens Advice provides free, independent, confidential, and impartial advice to UK citizens on their rights and responsibilities.
  • Call 03444 111 444 in England or 03444 77 20 20 in Wales (Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm)
  • More information and contact details available at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

Money Advice Service

  • Money Advice Service is a free and impartial money advice set up by the UK government.
  • Call 0800 138 7777 (Monday–Friday, 8am–6pm)
  • More information and contact details available at https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en

Turn2us

  • Turn2us can help you find benefits and grants you're entitled to.
  • Call 0808 802 2000 (Monday–Friday, 8am–6.30pm and Saturday 9am–1pm)
  • More information and contact details available at turn2us.org.uk/

Samaritans

  • Samaritans provides emotional support and a safe space to talk about any difficulties.
  • Call 116 123 anytime
  • More information and contact details available at https://www.samaritans.org/

We hope these tips and resources help you gain the confidence to speak up about your money problems. Don't hesitate to contact our team if there's anything we can help with.