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13/11/2018

Talk Money Week 2018

 

 

 

 

 

This week (12-18 November) is Talk Money Week 2018. The theme this year is “all about increasing financial wellbeing by encouraging people to have more open conversations about money – from savings and debt, to credit, financial education and retirement”. A survey by the Money Advice Service found that “UK adults are hiding more than £96 billion of debt from their friends and family, with the average amount of hidden debt in the UK standing at £4,164 per person” – startling sums, by anyone’s standards.

Being open about your personal finances is something we think is really important. All too often, R3 members dealing with personal insolvency see the consequences that can come from not speaking enough about money, and not dealing with personal finance issues before they get out of hand. Talking about finances helps people make better financial decisions and learn to spot the signs of fraud, and can reduce the possibility that debt issues will spiral out of control.

According to Sarah Porretta of the Money Advice Service, “Eight in ten people who get advice about their debts say they feel less stressed, less anxious and more in control of their lives”. The benefits of people in debt speaking to a qualified and professional advisor are huge – but sometimes, getting those in debt to take that first step of opening up can be tricky. And with strong indications that interest rate rises are on the way, people who rely on easily available credit to tide them over from payday to payday should not assume that the status quo will continue forever. Encouraging people in debt to take positive action now to seek out reputable and regulated advice could save a lot of distress later.

When R3 asked ComRes to survey a representative sample of over 2,000 British adults on our behalf about their sources of financial advice in February last year*, the results were eye-opening.

Public sector education had the lowest reach of personal finance advice, we found, with just one third (34%) of those surveyed saying they have received advice in this way. The proportion of people who had received advice from official government advice bodies was only slightly higher, at 36%. By comparison, over two-thirds (69%) of people said they have received this type of advice on personal finance from friends and family, and over half (52%) from non-government advice bodies.

As Mark Sands, the Chair of our Personal Finance Committee, commented at the time: “While advice from friends and family undoubtedly performs a useful job, speaking to a regulated professional who has the knowledge and experience necessary to give up-to-date advice on personal finance is something that we would strongly recommend. If you had a health query, you’d talk to a specialist; the health of your finances shouldn’t be any less important.

R3 was also glad to see the launch of a consultation on a “breathing space” for indebted individuals, announced in the October Budget. During a breathing space, people in debt will have an opportunity to seek advice about their finances from a qualified and professional source, allowing them to choose the right path forward for their particular situation. Once implemented, and with proper signposting and support, the breathing space will be an invaluable opportunity for people who are worried about their personal financial situation to stop, take stock, and speak to an expert. With luck, it will be a helpful ‘nudge’ at the right time to help people get back on track, or to make a fresh start. The sooner that impartial and expert advice is sought, the more options people have available to them, and the less likely it is that money issues will spiral out of control.

* ComRes interviewed 2,045 British adults online between the 1st and 2nd February 2017. Data were weighted to be representative of all British adults by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Full data tables are available at www.comresglobal.com.

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see www.r3.org.uk for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
     
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.