- 47 million adults across the UK don’t find it easier to talk money or don’t discuss at all.
Despite Covid-19 having a widespread impact on people’s finances and this being a top concern for people (1), research from the government-backed MaPS, which provides free money guidance to people, reveals 47 million people (90%) say the pandemic hasn’t made it easier to have money conversations (2). 83% of the UK population say the current situation has not made a difference to their ability to discuss finances, and 6% say it has made it harder (3).
Those who find having money conversations harder due to Covid-19 say the reason they avoid them is because their financial situation causes them anxiety or stress (36%) and they don’t want to make others worry about them (33%).
Coping with new circumstances is a barrier to talking about money. People claiming benefits or anticipating they will need to in the next 6 months due to Covid-19 are almost three times more likely to find having money conversations harder than the UK average (17%). More than 1 in 3 (36%) people are uncomfortable with telling others they are claiming due to the pandemic.
So far, only 1 in 6 people (17%) say they have asked others about their financial situation because they are worried about them, suggesting there could be an opportunity for family and friends to step up in acting as money supporters for their loved ones.
However, of the minority of people (9%) who said they have found it easier to talk about their finances as a result of Covid-19, nearly a third (31%) say they do it because they feel better after discussing financial concerns.
Sarah Porretta, Strategy and Insights Director at the Money and Pensions Service said:
“It’s really worrying that people aren’t opening up about their finances during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even though so many people are facing similar challenges, have money worries on their minds, and are spending more time in their household groups, the research shows us our fundamental behaviour around talking money hasn’t changed. It’s a difficult time and people have a lot to process right now, but not communicating about money or keeping secrets can cause further problems for our overall wellbeing and that of our loved ones.
“As we rethink how we live our everyday lives in the wake of Covid-19, this is an opportunity for people to start opening up about money matters. Whether that’s with an expert, or the people closest to you, talking is a great first step towards managing financial issues and can often make things feel less daunting. Anyone who needs help talking through money challenges due to Coronavirus can contact the Money Advice Service helpline or website for free, confidential guidance or for specialist pensions support contact The Pensions Advisory Service.”
Commenting on the findings, Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James said:
“Given the financial impact of Covid-19, it’s more important than ever to be open and honest when talking about money, unfortunately, it’s considered a taboo subject by many. Our handling of money can be closely linked with our sense of self-worth, so if someone is experiencing money problems they often feel shame or embarrassment. The problem is, keeping financial worries a secret can have a damaging effect on your emotional and mental wellbeing. By not talking about the problem, often you end up making the situation worse, and it can also put unnecessary emotional strain on yourself and your relationships. More often than not, the fear of talking about money is often far worse than actually having the conversation. Finally talking about it tends to bring a great sense of relief.
“If you’re facing financial strain, you need to first of all confront your difficult feelings about money in order to move forward and tackle the problem. It can be hard to take the first step of opening up to your friends or family, but it’s likely you’ll find many people are in the same boat. There’s also specialist support available and plenty of ideas online about how to approach and tackle this tricky topic with the different people in our lives.”