Financial well-being is increasingly recognised as being vital to overall well-being. With this in mind, it was a privilege to be asked to talk to an audience of 70. I asked the audience to put their hands up if they believed they had received a good financial education at school.
Guess what… you got it… not one person put their hand up!
It’s no wonder then that financial issues are deemed to be the biggest worry for employees over and above anything else, according to research by a company called Neyber. Worst still, having financial trouble can lead to further psychological and mental stress.
Financial education is now compulsory in schools but it’s not a priority and in most cases is peripheral. Perhaps the answer is to make it an integral part of the curriculum and have it examinable. At its basic level, education is about preparing young people for adult life. A thorough understanding of money should surely be part of this preparation, allowing them to operate more effectively in society. Yet, here we were, 70 business people in the room and not one believed they had received a good financial education!
In my capacity as a Financial Planner, I have never come across anyone with a pay day loan but for a significant proportion of the population these are a real issue. The average pay day loan debt seen by the charity StepChange, was around £1,700 in the first half of 2018.
At Blue Sky, we may not see those who engage with pay day loans, but every week we do come across situations where potential clients are not managing their money effectively. There are numerous examples; most people we see have a level of understanding but pockets of knowledge can skew their thinking on the bigger picture. They are often anchored by preconceived ideas. Yet with more flexible thinking, so often, they could be in a better financial position.
The starting point to improving your financial well-being is to go through bank statements and check what you are paying for. Are you paying for anything you shouldn’t be? Are you being extravagant? Can you pay off any debt?
We find business people are often the worst; they are so busy managing their businesses they forget about managing themselves.
I’m guilty as charged. Bizarrely, inspired by my own talk (how does that work?) I set about doing a spring clean of my own bank statements and accounts last weekend. I won’t tell you what I found but it was therapeutic, and I can now justify buying that new putter I’ve been promising myself!
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA