Key statistics on UK financial capability tell us that in the UK 39% of adults don’t feel confident managing their money. 11.5 million have less than £100 in savings and nearly 9 million are in serious debt.
Worrying about money is one of the biggest causes of stress and anxiety, and if those worries are not dealt with when they arise, they can have very serious consequences.
Left unaddressed, they will seep into every area of our lives and soon become a heavy weight to bear, having a detrimental effect on our mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Even without a global pandemic, financial worries were top of the list for causing stress. With a global pandemic, we have suddenly found ourselves with a whole load of other more important things to worry about besides money.
But those financial concerns have not gone away and, on top of everything else, can sometimes be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
If money worries are taking over your life and affecting your health and wellbeing, it’s time to seek help.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways in which you can lighten the load financially, to make coping with everything else a little easier.
And although you might be feeling lost, we are here to help you find those ways and guide you back onto a secure financial path.
In the meantime, here are our top five suggestions for how to take the first steps towards freeing yourself of financial stress.
1 Understand your finances
First you need to know exactly what state your finances are in. Too often people bury their heads in the sand, leaving bills unopened and turning to credit cards without keeping a proper eye on their cash flow. Before they know it, they are in trouble and trapped in a downward spiral of debt. It is important to be brave and honest at this point and tackle your finances head on. It’s no good glossing over that huge credit card bill! Write down exactly what you owe, what you’ve got coming in and what you need for day-to-day expenses. Only then can you start to move forward in a meaningful way. At Get Smart, we can help businesses create a budget and track finances to stay in control.
2 Get a second opinion
Even when you’ve prepared a full breakdown of your cash flow, you may not be able to see a way out. In fact, things might seem bleaker than ever. Now is the time to get a second opinion. You may feel shame or embarrassment, but you have to overcome this. You are not the first or the only person to have got into a financial quandary and you certainly won’t be the last. Other people and businesses have been there before you and their experiences can help you find a way out. Speak to colleagues and peers and get their advice. It may be that you feel you need expert help at this stage. There is plenty of help out there – you just need to take the plunge and ask for it. This is where we can come in to offer you help and support when you feel like you don’t know which way to turn.
3 Make a plan
Once you have gathered advice and have an honest appraisal of your financial situation, you need to identify what the key areas are for making changes. You may need to increase your income, lower your spending or both. Identify those key issues and work through them with whoever is offering you advice so that you can come up with a way to tackle them together. It may be moving a credit card to one with a lower interest rate, selling off unused goods, diversifying or making other cutbacks. Whatever action you are taking, make a plan.
4 Be adaptable
Once you have made a plan, remember that flexibility is key. If you try something, but it isn’t working, stop and try something else. Don’t persevere with a route that you begin to doubt may help you. Stay open to advice and suggestions from other people.
5 Finally, think ‘have I done everything I can? Is there more I can do?’
If the answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ then move on. If they’re not, then look carefully at what else you can do to ease the pressure.
If you are weighed down with financial worries, let us help alleviate the pressure. We can look at your financial position and find ways to free up cash flow. We are experts in budgets, planning and finances – let us take that burden off you so that you can concentrate on the more important things.