The week is an opportunity to help people across the UK have more open conversations about their money – from pocket money to pensions – and to continue these conversations year-round.
Research shows that people who talk about money make better and less risky financial decisions, have stronger personal relationships, help their children form good lifetime money habits and feel less stressed or anxious and more in control.
Cllr Mike Bell, Deputy Leader at North Somerset Council said: “Despite the current spotlight on household finances, talking about money in the UK still remains largely taboo. Latest research shows that with many grappling cost-of-living pressures and the challenges of managing their money in uncertain times, 19 million people nationally feel worried when thinking about their financial situation right now. We want to encourage everyone to change that – a problem shared is a problem halved. Seek help if you are worried about your financial situation in the current cost of living crisis. Talking about it openly is the first step. We really are in this together.”
North Somerset Council is promoting the five following tips this week to help conversations start about money.
1. Create a comfortable setting: You might feel more at ease chatting over a cup of tea, as you go for a walk, or at your kitchen table so you can lay out any paperwork. Try to minimise interruptions and put phones on silent.
2. Sometimes the hardest part of having a conversation is knowing how to start. Once you’re past the first few seconds, you might be surprised by how easily the conversation flows. If you see a news bulletin relevant to your situation, use this as a springboard to initiate a conversation – it’s a useful way to break the ice and to remember that many people are in the same boat right now.
3. Listen as well as talk: Try to make sure you go into the discussion with an open mind, being prepared to take in the other person’s point of view. Hearing one another’s standpoint in a respectful way can make the difference between having a constructive conversation versus an unproductive argument.
4. Check in with friends and family: Once you’ve made the first step to opening up about your financial worries, you can help others to do the same. Never force someone into a conversation but do remind them you’re here to chat if they need support.
5. You might find it easier to speak to someone who may not be directly impacted by your money worries, like a friend or professional.
Financial help is available. If unsure about what help is available to you, the Worrying About Money? questionnaire available on North Somerset Council’s website can help. By answering a few simple questions about your current situation anonymously, it will give you contact details of local services that offer free and confidential advice.
Complete the ‘Worrying about money?’ questionnaire at: North Somerset - Worried about Money? (worryingaboutmoney.co.uk)
There are also helpful tips, information and tools available at www.moneyhelper.org.uk to help talk to children, partners, friends and older people about money.
North Somerset Council joined forces with other key partners earlier this year to set up a Cost-of-Living multi-agency taskforce to help and support residents during these financially challenging times. Everyone is affected by increasing costs - we’re all in this together.
Numerous measures are in place – from over 40 public living rooms to help us keep warm this winter, household support grants, food banks and business support.
For a round-up of advice and guidance about the cost-of-living crisis, visit our website (https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/benefits-support/cost-living-advice-guidance). It includes help with bills, childcare costs, housing support, and energy and heating advice. #NorthSomersetTogether #TalkMoney