Why do Brits find it so tough to talk about cash-flow problems?
It’s an issue that’s plagued us Brits for far too long — money talk.
Is it the ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality that’s been passed down through the generations? Or is it that we’ve learnt somewhere along the line that talking about finances is considered rude or impolite. Either way it is fair to say that sharing cash-flow concerns is a no-go area.This is backed up by a recent study that concludes that talking about financial hardship is strictly off-limits for a high majority of the 2,000 surveyed U.K individuals.
To add to that 25 % of participants commented that that conversations about personal finances causes them to feel “nervous” and “anxious”.
As reported by The Independent, one in five people in the Lowell commissioned study also don’t think it’s suitable to talk about their salary in social settings. Additionally, more than half would avoid talking about personal issues such as cash-flow problems at work due to the fear of being judged negatively.
Why is Talking About Cash-Flow Problems So Difficult?
Admitting that we’re experiencing financial hardship is understandably a difficult thing to do. It takes a lot of courage to say that financial stress is having an impact on our day to day life. Pride has a massive part to play in this. A common theme in research is the fear that admitting to cash-flow problems will break up a relationship.
A study carried out by the Money Advice Service discovered that 25 % of British adults have lied about their personal financial situation to loved ones — with 11% admitting they have lied to their partner regarding their level of debt.
A further 23% said they have misled their partner about finances and 37% have had arguments about money with their other half.
Honest conversations about money bring up a lot of anxiety for those who are experiencing tough times. It’s human nature to try to ignore the things that challenge us but as clinical psychologist Tamara Licht Musso confirms, avoidance of the problem isn’t the answer. ‘Not talking can seem like the best short term strategy, but is a negative coping mechanism and at some point it cracks.’
Description: Man and woman talking over coffee
What Impact Does Cash-Flow Related Stress Put On Our Lives?
It is estimated that around 7.4 million Brits struggle to get a good night’s sleep due to money worries, with over 1.7 million confirming that cash-flow related issues are a source of stress that plays on their minds.
Debt is considered to be the biggest financial issue linked to someone suffering with a mental health condition, and being unable to cope with everyday financial outlays follows closely behind.
According to recent statistics from the Money Advice Service, 59 % of people who reached out to them in 2019 said they had been diagnosed with a mental health condition.
Once a person is able to reach out to a trusted loved one, debt support services research shows that levels of depression, anxiety and panic attacks are significantly lowered.
Sarah Porretta, financial capability director at the Money Advice Service, said, ‘Sometimes money worries can be a symptom of poor mental well-being; sometimes poor mental well-being can be the result of money worries.
‘Our research shows that more than half of the UK population have experienced poor mental well-being as a result of concerns about money. And two thirds of us have been worried about a loved one’s mental well-being linked to money worries.
‘Whether it’s finding everyday tasks hard, like keeping on top of bills and bank statements, or finding yourself missing payments, help is available. Talking to someone, and taking the time to focus on your own well-being, is a really difficult but hugely important first step.
‘There is a wide range of guidance available on our website, including our Debt Advice Locator tool, or you can reach out to our mental health partners including MIND, the Samaritans, the Mental Health Foundation or Mental Health UK.’
What Happens When We Break This Taboo?
Research commissioned by Lloyds Bank found that ‘three-fifths of respondents said they felt better when they opened up and talked about their money concerns.’
Professor Tanya Byron, consultant clinical psychologist also confirmed the countless positive repercussions of getting money worries off our chests. ‘Talking openly about money can help us take shared responsibility, strengthen our relationships, and protect our mental wellbeing.’
When we open up the conversation and take the first step in being vulnerable and honest we welcome in the opportunity to create positive changes. Keeping worries bottled up inside is never the answer. However, we understand how difficult taking that first step can be.
Bev Budsworth MD of The Debt Advisor has some valuable advice for those who are ready to face money worries head on but the thought of sharing with a loved one is too much. ‘If the prospect of speaking to anyone you know about your money or debt issues is beyond contemplation, there are organisations including The Debt Advisor who are appropriately regulated and are willing to chat and provide advice.
‘The process will help you build a comprehensive picture of your finances; identify the problem(s) and also possible solutions. Matching a problem with a solution will make you feel better and more empowered to then tackle the problem.’
As the saying goes a problem shared is a problem halved and opening up about financial hardship is the first step in addressing the issue. When we allow those feelings of regret, shame and self-judgement to be brought into the light we’re able to develop self-acceptance and compassion for our situation. In our modern consumer-driven world there is an enormous amount of pressure to keep up with the latest trend. Let go of any feelings of shame as to why you may be in debt. When we highlight an issue we are then able to create positive and lasting changes.
Together We Are So Much Better
‘In fact, Punk Rock means exemplary manners to your fellow human beings’
On a personal note, Punk Money wants to let you know how valued you are and how much we appreciate you being part of our community. Our mission is to get money worries off your plate so that you can concentrate on living an awesome life, free from the shackles of debt which keep so many Brits awake at night. We know that together we can create a new model of financial cooperative that crushes the system, hands down. We couldn’t be happier that you’re here for the ride.