Worried $ick

Many of us live with huge money worries. The coronavirus has had an enormous economic impact but financial stress can also result from a relationship break-up, physical or mental ill health, addiction, or unexpected expenses. Whatever the cause, financial insecurity can significantly affect your health and wellbeing.

Financial stress doesn’t just affect people out of work. Research commissioned by AMP for its 2019 Financial Wellness report found that two in five employees admitted feeling financial stress. This was across all industries, income levels and job roles. Money concerns impact people in many different ways, the report found.

While many people think money worries are a personal issue, the research shows being financially stressed spills into working life, increasing absenteeism and impacting productivity.

Financial stress, like any form of stress, is also linked to mental and physical health issues, family breakdown and substance abuse, and can lead to feelings of isolation.


Get the help you need

Many people facing financial stress are reluctant to ask for help, feeling ashamed of their situation. But there is free help available and it can make a huge difference.


Talk to a financial or credit counsellor

It’s not easy to talk about money difficulties, especially with family and friends, but getting help early means you will have many more options. If you feel overwhelmed by money worries, contact a financial counsellor as soon as possible.

Financial counsellors, also known as credit counsellors in some places, are skilled professionals who offer a free, independent and confidential service through community organisations, community legal centres and some government agencies.

Financial counsellors can help with things like bills or fines, credit card and other debts, gas, electricity or phone disconnection or the threat of eviction. They can also help you work out a repayment plan for debts that can’t be waived, and help with planning for big purchases, provide information about managing money, and refer you to other services and schemes.

Don’t confuse financial counsellors with financial advisers. Unlike financial advisers, financial counsellors can’t help you with investments and retirement planning.

As well as a financial benefit from talking to a financial counsellor, there’s often an emotional benefit too. Along with the advocacy and information, it can help just to have someone who listens and is on your side.

It can be a huge relief to talk to a financial counsellor. And then, feeling more empowered, to take the next step. To find a financial counsellor in your area, try a quick web search, Government sites dealing with finance may also have resources available to you.