“Don’t do nothing!” That’s the advice for members who are struggling with debt and money worries.
Antony Price, partnership development manager at PayPlan, a national service which provides free debt advice, is urging members not to sit in silence with their financial concerns.
“We’re fully aware people might be sat there worried about picking up the phone, but don’t do nothing,” he said, “Take some action, even if it’s a baby step. Do something and you’ll be surprised how much better you feel.
“The amount of people who feel that stress is relieved, that sharing that with somebody else really does help them. It’s incredible what a difference that can make.”
He was speaking to Hayley Aley, the national Federation’s wellbeing lead, during a Facebook Live event focussing on debt and finances.
The discussion was part of the Federation’s month-long focus on financial wellbeing, and is available to watch now.
Antony stressed that PayPlan was “a 100 per cent confidential service” and said talking about your finances can improve your mental wellbeing.
“85 per cent of clients said being in debt has either added to or caused mental health issue including stress, depression and anxiety,” he said, “The really good thing is that following on from debt advice, 93 per cent of those clients said getting debt help improved their mental health and their stress reduced.
“95 per cent of them felt more confident to deal with their money matters, and 69 per cent felt they could open up top other people. The more that we talk about it the better.”
The 45-minute discussion covered a range of financial issues that could affect members including debt, credit cards, mortgages, benefits, and debt management plans.
Hayley said: “The idea of the event is to help anyone out there around any concerns regarding finance and personal debt.
“This year has been a tough year for everyone. If we can help one person reach out and get some support if their worries about finance and personal debt are starting to affect their wellbeing and their mental health, then it will have been worth it.”
And Antony said one way to help yourself with your finances was to “go back to basics” and set out a budget for the incomings and outgoings.
“Most people who approach us for debt help have never done that before until they reach out to us for help,” he said, “The more you can feel confident about your household affairs, the more you can plan ahead for the future.
“There will be things you might look at think I can cut that back, or I can make decisions because I’m happy to forego that in order to plan for my future. It might be cutting back subscriptions. It might be to minimise an expense or maximise an income.
“It also helps you to understand those expenses you don’t think about on a monthly basis. That might be a haircut, it might be a daily coffee. When you add it up it might shock you to know how much you’re spending on those things and how that could have a positive impact to the amount you could put away for retirement, for example, if you were to change those lifestyle choices.
“You don’t know that until you back to basics,” he added.