Where to find the help you need?
Times are tough, and financial problems are increasing for many working households.
The reality is that millions of people are feeling confused, overwhelmed, or even just plain scared by both the cost-of-living crisis coupled with the increases in debt costs that the United Kingdom is now experiencing.
So what support is available to you if you need it?
This page aims to outline the main options available, together with some useful links. But let’s start with…
Friends and family
Most people are reluctant to admit they face financial problems, even with their close friends, immediate family, partner, or spouse. Yet trying to cope alone is likely to make things worse rather than better, and can seriously harm your mental wellbeing too.
So, if you can, aim to share your concerns, ideally with someone you are close to and trust.
Whilst they probably won’t be able to solve all your problems, they will at least bring a fresh perspective to those issues, and may well be able to suggest some fairly simple measures that you might have previously overlooked.
Few employers would want their employees struggling financially, and your Human Resources team or line manager may be able to signpost you to workplace support or employee benefits offerings that you were not aware of, or suggest some simple changes (perhaps to your working hours or travel arrangements) that might help you control your expenditure).
Most good employers also provide an Employee Assistance Plan (EAP), which usually includes free (and confidential) debt counselling services.
Speak to your service provider
If you are struggling to make repayments on a loan or service, then a good starting point is to make contact with your service provider to tell them and ask for their help.
Many will be willing and able (and some are even required by law) to discuss a range of options to help make your payments more affordable.
There are many very useful websites to help you better manage your money.
Three free-to-use and impartial sites for generic money issues are listed below:
- Money Saving Expert
Perhaps the best-known – and the most comprehensive – website for generic money issues is the Money Saving Expert (MSE) website. This site features sections on a wide range of financial topics and is entirely free to use.
- The Money Helper Website
MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise, and includes a range of tools and calculators which will help you take control of your finances.
- Citizens Advice
Citizens Advice have been helping consumers for decades, and their website features a different section for each devolved region of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) on a range of topical and important issues – including money matters. The website also allows you to search for your local Citizens Advice office so that you can arrange to speak to someone in person as needed.
There are of course many other useful websites available on the internet (particularly those funded by the banking and charity sectors).
We would however advise extreme caution before following links suggested by unsolicited emails or sponsored search engine results, as some sites may not be entirely impartial and/or free to use, and others might be scams designed to harvest your financial data.
If you are struggling with debt, then professional help could be the answer. That support can be supplied via a registered debt charity.
There are many excellent debt charities available, with three of the best-known examples detailed below:
- Step Change stepchange.org
- National Debtline nationaldebtline.org
- Debt Advice Foundation debtadvicefoundation.org
It is however important to draw a clear distinction here between a charity and a private company (who may charge you money for much the same services). So be careful regarding which organisations and businesses you approach for help.
Mental Health Support
Lastly, but certainly not least, if you feel that your money worries are taking a toll on your mental health, then don’t be afraid to make contact with your employer’s EAP service (see above), any mental health support tools offered by your employer, The National Health Service (NHS), or a registered charity (two examples listed below):
This document is provided for information only and is correct at the time of writing (05/01/2023). Links to websites do not indicate any endorsement of that website or service by Partners&.