What is financial wellbeing?

Financial wellbeing is known by many names – like financial literacy, wellness, confidence or resilience – but put simply, it’s about having a good relationship with your money.

For us at the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), financial wellbeing is about feeling secure and in control of your finances, both now and in the future. It’s knowing that you can pay the bills today, can deal with the unexpected, and are on track for a healthy financial future.

People who experience financial wellbeing are less stressed about money. This, in turn, has positive effects on their overall mental and physical health, and on their relationships.

It’s more important now than ever to help your colleagues, customers and community to build financial wellbeing. MaPS can help your organisation to start or continue developing ways to do this. 

There are multiple aspects to financial wellbeing. We break down the UK’s general financial wellness into five key areas:

  • Receiving a meaningful financial education
  • Saving regularly
  • Using credit for everyday essentials
  • Accessing debt advice, and
  • Planning for and in later life. 

And here’s why these aspects of financial wellbeing are so important. Before the pandemic:

  • 11.5 million people had less than £100 in savings to fall back on.
  • 9 million people often borrowed to buy food or pay for bills.
  • 22 million people said they don’t know enough to plan for their retirement.
  • 5.3 million children didn’t get a meaningful financial education. (Financial Capability Survey 2018)

How we measure financial wellbeing

These statistics offer a strong indication of how financial wellbeing (and generally financial literacy and financial capability) is faring in the UK. Improvements in financial wellbeing can be shown in  either a decrease or increase in these key statistics. We survey the nation regularly to keep informed of changes in these personal finance areas.

A financially healthy nation is beneficial for individuals, communities, businesses, and the economy.

Financial stress – and its knock-on effects for mental health, relationship breakdown and physical health – can have severe consequences for individuals, organisations and communities. The economic impact of Covid-19 has affected the mental health of some individuals, exacerbating a nationwide problem.

Over the period 2020–2030, a key role for MaPS will be to widen the range of leaders committed to improving financial wellbeing in public, private and voluntary sector organisations.

How financial wellbeing benefits businesses and employers

Employers also benefit from financial wellbeing

People who enjoy good financial wellbeing are more productive at work. If they are not, employers suffer too. In 2018, 11% of UK workers reported they had experienced a fall in productivity at some point over the preceding three years as a result of their financial situation.

Businesses also benefit

If people don’t fall behind with bills and payments, businesses have healthier profits and cash flow and don’t need to write off debts. People who have financial wellbeing are more likely to spend sustainably.

The economy also benefits from the future focus of people who enjoy financial wellbeing

When people can set aside money for their future, it can be invested in businesses and potentially boost the productive parts of the economy.

Your organisation may already be helping people with their money and building financial wellbeing. For example:

  • Does your organisation offer your colleagues workplace pensions or signpost to discounts and debt advice in your employee wellbeing strategy?
  • Do your customers/service users ask for help with bills, filling in benefits forms or opening letters?
  • Does your organisation signpost to help with money, such as local credit unions, budgeting tips, pensions information or debt advice services?
  • Do you help people with stress or health issues caused by finances?

If you help people manage their money and pensions, you are already helping to build financial wellbeing. It may form only a small part of your role or your organisation’s mission, but it’s so important to the people you help that they know they can come to you for help.

Tell your financial wellbeing story

Organisations like yours across the UK are sharing how they offer their customers, colleagues and communities help with money worries in simple videos.

 

How we can help your organisation improve financial wellbeing

It’s never too late for people to make a positive change. We are set up by government to help people make the most of their money and pensions, and to offer free, impartial guidance.

We offer:

Impartial money and pensions help

Our consumer service MoneyHelper offers free, impartial money and pension guidance. It’s here to make your money and pension choices clearer. Here to put your customers and colleagues in control with impartial help that’s on your side and free to use.

www.moneyhelper.org.uk/

MoneyHelper helpline: 0800 138 7777

Support available:

  • English and Welsh language content
  • online content, videos and tools
  • content syndication
  • printed guides, also available in alternative formats
  • webchat
  • WhatsApp
  • helplines, and
  • free debt advice over the phone and face to face through the organisations we fund.

The UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing

No one organisation can change all these things alone. It’s going to take a joined up effort from organisations across the UK. That’s why in January 2020 we launched a UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing to set goals for 2030 and bring together organisations from a diverse range of sectors – from housing to health and HR – to work together to realise them.

Free, bespoke partnership support

Get free support to build local financial wellbeing: Our partnerships team are based near you, and can help bring your organisation an understanding of some of the local financial wellbeing challenges. Get in touch to make a positive change for your employees, customers and service users.

Research and evaluation

Our insights team publish regular updates on what’s changing in UK financial wellbeing, and what works to improve it. Explore our financial wellbeing research.

Sign up to our newsletter and follow MaPS on Twitter and LinkedIn to stay up to date.

 

Get free support for your organisation

We are here to help. If you have further questions that you feel aren’t covered in the resources on this page, get in touch with us at partners@maps.org.uk.

 
Follow MaPS on social media to stay up to date with financial wellbeing news.
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