Many people are struggling with financial stress – but they’re not seeking the support they need. As we head into Talk Money Week (6–10 November), now’s the perfect time for your clients to encourage members to open up about their financial concerns.
Ongoing financial uncertainty continues to take its toll on people’s wellbeing. In fact, 1 in 4 say that managing their money has caused them sleepless nights and poor mental health.
This is one of the key takeaways from Standard Life’s Retirement Voice 2023 report, which explores how the nation is feeling about their finances and retirement plans. And it’s clear that many are feeling under significant pressure.
Whilst many people admit that financial issues have impacted their mental and emotional state, our research shows that the majority (6 in 10) don’t seek support.
Women in particular are less likely to look for help than men (26% vs. 36%), even though they’re more likely to feel concerned about their financial situation. Our insights show that almost half (47%) of all women feel worried, anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, compared to a third (33%) of men.
Clearly, there’s a sizeable gap in the number of people who are struggling and of those who actively look for support. But why? And what can your clients do to help close the gap?
Why seeking support with money worries is important
Getting support and talking about money worries can make a big difference to people’s financial wellbeing and resilience. According to the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) – who run their Talk Money Week campaign every year – people who talk about money:
- Make better and less risky financial decisions
- Have stronger personal relationships
- Help their children form good lifetime money habits
- Feel less stressed or anxious and more in control
Despite these benefits, the majority of people keep quiet; MaPS research shows that 8 in 10 people avoid discussing their finances. The most common reasons for avoiding talking about money are not wanting to be judged, fear of burdening others, and shame or embarrassment.
What can employers do to help reduce financial stress?
It’s important for employers to understand the far-reaching impact that financial stress can have on people’s lives – and on the workplace. Indeed, in our Retirement Voice survey, almost 1 in 10 people say they’ve needed to take time off work as a result of managing their finances.
As we head into this year’s Talk Money Week, it could be the perfect opportunity for your clients to encourage members to seek support – and help improve their long-term financial wellbeing as a result. Here are a few ideas to help your clients get started:
Send a survey to understand employee needs
For your clients’ support package to make the most impact, it’s important to understand what’s worrying their employees. Are expensive bills the most pressing concern? Or are people prioritising getting on the property ladder? The only way to find out is to ask.
They could send an anonymous survey to employees to capture what’s on their minds and ask what would help them. They can then use this feedback to create a personalised support offering that meets employees’ needs.
Signpost to clear and simple guidance
Your clients could signpost to easy-to-understand guidance to help reduce any barriers that may be preventing members from seeking support.
MoneyHelper, for instance, contains loads of impartial guidance on a wide range of financial topics including everyday spending, buying a house, and saving into a pension.
If your clients are with Standard Life for their workplace pension scheme, members can get access to jargon-free guidance through our digital platform, Money Mindset. It simplifies financial information into bitesize chunks to help them get a better understanding of money.
It’s important for your clients to point people towards their employee assistance programme or any support networks too. By making members aware of the support on offer, it could help them feel less alone and more comfortable opening up.
Help members manage their day-to-day finances
If people don’t know how to begin managing their money, there’s a risk they may avoid their financial problems – which could make things worse.
Your clients can help by pointing employees towards tools to help them get better acquainted with their everyday spending.
Standard Life workplace pension scheme members can access tools like these through Money Mindset, which includes Budget Planner, Spending Insights, and Pension Finder. Using open finance technology, Money Mindset also allows members to connect and view all their financial accounts in one place, helping them form healthy habits and make confident decisions about their money.
For more information on how to support your employees’ financial wellbeing, take a look at our financial wellbeing articles for some ideas and inspiration.
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