How to maintain your mental wellbeing when you have money worries

7th November 2023

At a glance

  • More than one fifth of adults (11.5 million people) are borrowing more or using more credit facilities, just to keep up with rising prices1.
  • Feeling squeezed financially can affect your overall wellbeing and mental health.
  • A financial adviser can help you make the right decisions and avoid costly mistakes, giving your wellbeing a significant boost.

It can be a vicious circle. Worrying about paying the bills makes it harder to earn and manage your money. And feeling that you’re not on top of your finances can make you worry even more. That can have a direct impact on your mental health.

Worried about money? You are definitely not alone

The ONS reports that over 22 million of us do not expect to save anything this year1. And the cost of living crisis can deal families a double blow. Money that they would have put away for their pension, or for their children’s education, is now diverted into day-to-day living expenses.

Feeling that we can’t run our own finances properly can cause feelings of shame, or embarrassment. Small wonder why we want to bury our heads in the sand sometimes. In their 2023 survey, the mental health charity, MIND, reported that 20 million adults never talk about their mental health, and warned that worrying about money and the cost-of-living crisis could make this situation even more acute2.

Why are we worrying more about money?

We're living in an uncertain world. Covid-19 brought two years of reduced incomes and stress for many people. Hard on Covid’s heels came other stressful situations such as the Ukraine war, raging inflation and volatile stock markets. Kate Whalley, Marketing Propositions Manager at St. James's Place, says that, "although inflation affects those on lower incomes most, anyone with high outgoings can be impacted severely. This applies across the wealth spectrum. If your outgoings are exceeding your income, your finances will be out of kilter – no matter how much you’re worth."

The Office for National Statistics or ONS reported that more than one fifth of adults (11.5 million people) said they were borrowing more or using more credit facilities this year, just to keep up with rising prices1. “That squeeze impacts other elements of your life, including overall wellbeing and mental health,” says Kate. “For example, those who relied on debt may have been forced to rely on it even more, leading to what’s known as problem debt."

What can I do to improve my mental and financial wellbeing?

If worrying about money is affecting your mental health, you may find you’re less able to make any decision about your finances, let alone make good decisions. So starting a conversation with a financial adviser can be a good first step to sorting out the situation.

Poor financial wellbeing comes from not feeling in control of your finances. Kate says the way to improve financial wellbeing is to talk to an expert. They can help with every aspect of your financial planning from creating a household budget to fit your family circumstances, to working out how you can keep saving. The more you know about managing your money, the more confident you feel that you’re back in control.

Conversations about money, especially conversations about money within families, can become very emotional. Having a financial adviser who’s one step removed from the situation, and supportive, can help you face the issues, and move forward. Our financial advice, especially when people are more vulnerable, is always confidential, and the first consultation is held, with no obligation. “Even if you think you have the solution to your problems, confirmation that you’re doing the right thing brings reassurance, which is key to wellbeing,” says Kate.

Why it’s hard to talk about money – and what you can do about it

“If you have negative emotions around your finances, it’s time to talk to a professional – whether that’s a debt counsellor, financial planner or other kind of adviser,” says Kate. "Many of us find it hard to talk openly about money, even in the good times. Financial advisers have literally hundreds of open, non-judgmental conversations with their clients a year, and their practical, sensitive advice can help you get back on track.“ Your adviser can field questions such as: What can I do to cut my spending? What should I do if my financial or family situation has changed? How can I stop inflation eroding my savings? Am I still on track for my retirement plan? No question is ever too small or insignificant."

Advising you and your family

Proper financial planning involves the whole family. So you may well be wanting to help out some people in your family who are really struggling but worry that you’ll be compromising your own financial wellbeing too.

Your financial advice and your personal plan will vary significantly depending on your life stage and situation – and that of your children, or parents for example. Those with younger families may need to consider reducing their outgoings and debt in response to high inflation. Others may also want to keep saving for longer-term goals, such as summer holidays, even university.

Established investors may need to review their investments and planned retirement dates. And retirees might want to review their income to ensure they have enough to cover their outgoings now and if high inflation continues.

These are tough times for many families, but with good advice you may be able to balance your short-term and longer-term goals. We listen, and we take time to understand your situation and goals before talking you through various scenarios.

Starting to talk is the first step towards getting your mental health, as well as your finances, back on track.

Is it worth getting financial advice?

Financial advice isn’t simply about numbers on a page. It can help you map out the future you want and significantly improve your financial wellbeing and mental health. We can help you make logical decisions and avoid costly mistakes in uncertain times.

If you’re worried about your finances and the impact on your own mental wellbeing, please speak to someone sooner rather than later. You can reach out to the 24 hour NHS helpline.

Listen to our 'Resilience in a changing world' podcasts to help you build a robust strategy to navigate through financial, emotional and societal issues.

Sources

1 ONS, 22 February 2023

2 Mind, 2 February 2023

How to maintain your mental wellbeing when you have money worries
We're ready to help