Money may be a taboo subject for many but it’s an important topic and not one to shy away from. The more we talk about money, the more likely we are to take control of our finances.
We believe it’s important to deal with financial issues head on. In an effort to help you become more financially aware, MB Associates has just launched a new magazine, Financial Health, which aims to help you manage your money well, offering advice and tips on coping with your finances. Download your free copy.
Money is often considered a sensitive subject that many people are uncomfortable sharing. A survey conducted by Lloyds Bank in 2019 revealed that half of Brits find money a taboo topic. Some 42 per cent find it more uncomfortable than talking about sex, 26 per cent would rather talk about religion, while 14 per cent would feel more comfortable talking about politics.
Yet despite discomfort over financial conversations, it’s a key topic that can’t be ignored as money issues are causing considerable stress and anxiety.
Before the pandemic, The Money Advice Service conducted a report to look at our behaviour with money. It found that 39 per cent of adults in the UK didn’t feel confident managing their money and 11.5 million people had less than £100 in savings. According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, nine million people had borrowed money by the end of last year.
Money worries are also affecting our working lives. A survey of over 5000 employees showed that 77 per cent had money worries that affected them at work. According to Close Brothers Financial Wellbeing, 18 million adults worry about money daily and one in five workers regularly stress about their finances.
Figures released by national poverty charity Turn2us in March showed that 23 per cent of people think it will take them a year or more to get back to the financial position they were in before the pandemic. A spokesman for Turn2us said it will take ‘significant time’ to recover from the debt, loss of income and damage to mental health.
Younger people have been the worst hit, with those between 18 and 34 saying it will take them much longer to recover from lost income and debt incurred over the past year.
We encourage our clients to look at ways to save money. One of the key ways you can do this is to review your mortgage every two years to ensure you are paying a competitive interest rate. ‘I’m passionate about ensuring that all of our clients pay the lowest amount of interest on their mortgage for the entire term of the mortgage,’ says MB Associates’ Managing Director Monica Bradley.
It’s also worth having a long-term mortgage strategy. When and how do you plan to pay your mortgage off, and will you be able to do so in the timeframe you have agreed with the lender?
If you can, making small overpayments on your mortgage could save you a great deal of money in the long-term. Even just an extra £50 to £100 per month over many years could save you a lot of interest.
Coping with money worries
If money worries are plaguing you, there are some simple ways to manage your finances and take control straight away. Here’s five key ways to improve your finances.
1. Question yourself
Before buying anything, ask yourself ‘do I really want it, do I really need it, will I use it?’ Face up to whether you’re indulging yourself or being practical.
2. Work out your spending triggers
When do you spend money? Is it when you’re stressed or feeling sad? Do you buy things to make yourself feel better? Do you buy items online when you’ve had a few glasses of wine in the evenings? Work out your triggers and find ways to distract yourself when you feel tempted to go shopping.
3. Use your credit card cautiously
Avoid accruing interest you don’t need to pay. Only use your card if you know you’ll be able to pay off the entire balance at the end of the month. If you owe money, make sure you are not paying more than necessary in interest on loans or credit card balances. Credit card interest can be high, so you may want to switch to a card with a zero per cent balance transfer.
4. Know what you’re spending
Most of us know what our mortgage or rental costs are, and we can probably remember the amounts of most of our bills. However, we tend to be less clear on what we spend in a typical month on groceries and household items, as well as going out. Keep a record of everything you spend and see where you can make changes.
5. Plan for the unexpected
We can often get caught out by unexpected bills such as car repairs or vets bills. Make sure you have a contingency fund for emergencies so that you’re not having to find money you didn’t put aside.
If you would like to discuss your long-term mortgage strategy or would like more information on how to make overpayments on your mortgage, feel free to contact us.