Money has long been branded ‘the root of all evil’ but many people could be forgiven for concluding that suffering from a ‘lack of money’ feels a far more pressing problem.
Furthermore, such individuals are no longer in a minority. According to Perbox’s 2020 UK Workplace Stress Survey, 60% of British adults in employment now experience financial/monetary stress.
The proportion is most unlikely to plummet during the coming weeks because Christmas has traditionally involved further financial stresses of its own. And, of course, this year these are being compounded by uncertainties around what celebrations will actually be permitted during the coronavirus crisis.
Presents must still be bought, even if transpires that they can’t be handed over in person, and there is an obvious risk that substantial outlays on food and drink could eventually prove wasted.
So, many people could end up feeling the pinch in the New Year even if they derived little return from their festive outlay. They could find themselves undergoing ‘cold turkey’ without ever enjoying seeing family members tuck into the hot one.
Financial stress can spiral out of control very quickly and lead to costly absenteeism and presenteeism problems and, with so many employees currently working remotely, symptoms that might have been straightforward to spot can easily go under the radar.
Employees can experience anxiety, frustration and feelings of hopelessness once debts pile up and they start finding themselves barely managing to pay merely the interest on money owed. This can in turn cause additional levels of stress which compounds with those already resulting from feelings of depression and self-neglect.
Anyone who finds themselves in such a situation should be strongly encouraged to face their fears rather than take the ‘ostrich approach’, and seeking advice on which debts to prioritise can play an important part. So, employers can help by pointing relevant employees in the direction of Citizens Advice and other appropriate organisations.
Those suffering from financial stress should also be advised to avoid drinking too much alcohol and to take some form of exercise — as this should enhance their mood if they are feeling low. Continuing to see friends is important as well, but some people make things worse by avoiding talking to others when they feel anxious.
However, prevention is always better than cure, and even the smallest employers can make a real difference in this respect simply by encouraging employees to build up an emergency fund in a savings account to cover unexpected expenses.
A burst boiler or car repair can be expensive and stressful but there will be far less stress involved if someone knows they can dip into their emergency fund to pay for it.
Ideally, such a fund should contain enough to cover three to six months’ living expenses but this is easier said than done if someone is already struggling. So even building up a float of £1,000 by making small monthly contributions and selling unused items around the house could prove crucial.
Employers can also provide their workforces with relevant financial education workshops and seminars.
Chase de Vere’s ‘Making The Most Of Your Money’ is a module that all clients can request, even if they don’t use any of our other educational courses. It covers everything from how to create a budget and make a plan for getting out of debt to how to plan for the future.
Budgeting, in particular, is the best tool available for someone to gain control of their finances and stop worrying about money. It can make sure they cover their immediate expenses, whilst still striving to achieve savings goals, and find extra funds for tackling debt.
Our presentations detail how to set up a budget, the online resources available and the information needed, as well as ways to stay on top of one’s bills and to make money go further.
We have received great feedback from employees who have attended and feel more empowered as a result.
Content correct at the time of writing and is intended for general information only and should not be construed as advice.