Financial capability week is here (13th – 17th November 2017).  This was born from the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK and aims to get people talking about money, improve their financial capability and financial wellbeing.   Having started just 1 year ago, and still in its infancy, this awareness / strategy event couldn’t, in my opinion, have come at a better time.

Every day we’re faced with new statistics and worrying information about our general finances and capability to not even thrive, but simply survive.  Statistics including; 1 person every 48 seconds is seeking some form of debt assistance, 4 in 10 working age people have less than £100 in savings and 44% of people are not saving adequately for retirement.

I meet a lot of people and the financial worries, like those listed above, and I’m seeing this across all generations.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say the UK population is in financial crisis, but it’s a very real possibility that we could be. By speaking with people, sometimes you get a better sense of the situation and my recent experience is that the problem could actually be a lot bigger than what we can see.

Now is the time to take action and positively influence people to take control of their finances and their financial wellbeing.  And I believe one of the best ways to do this is via the workplace and financial wellbeing strategies.

In fact, most employers, although they may not have realised it, have been offering some form of financial wellbeing as part of their benefits offering for years.  The workplace pension scheme, death in service benefits, life assurance for example. But thankfully, more employers are realising the importance of a well-designed, well thought out wellbeing strategy, which is more strategic and incorporates financial wellbeing as well as physical and mental wellbeing in their own right.

I’m a firm believer that supporting financial wellbeing is good for the workforce and the company alike. And a financial education programme is a great place to start.  Especially when you consider that some 55% of employees have said being under financial pressure affects their behaviour and ability to perform their job, with a study by Neyber estimating that 17.5m days are lost per annum as a result of financial worries contributing to high levels of stress and lack of sleep. The recent PWC Employee Financial Wellness survey 2017 stated that almost half of financially stressed employees are spending 3 hours per week thinking about or dealing with their financial problems.

If we could encourage more of our UK employers to embrace financial education through a well implemented, well communicated financial education programme, this will go some way towards tackling the financial wellbeing of so many.  They’ll be helping their employees increase their financial knowledge and empower them to make confident financial decisions and ultimately improve their financial future. Stress comes from feeling out of control, a good financial education strategy can put employees back in control. Sometimes, all that is required is a deeper level of understanding in areas relevant to each employee.

Blog – issued by Darren Laverty.

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