The contents on this page have been produced by Fanny Snaith, money coach in cooperation with borofree. These contents are for guidance only and do not represent a recommendation for investments nor an advice to get a loan. The debt guidance is provided for educational purposes and to allow consumers to use their money more effectively.

The stigma around financial wellbeing is well established.  Money – one of the last taboo subjects – yet…

  • 39% of adults (20.3 million) don’t feel confident managing their money
  • 11.5 million have less than £100 in savings
  • Nearly 9 million are in serious debt and only around a third receive help.
  • 61% do not focus on the long term when it comes to money
  • 63% do not feel they can determine what happens in their lives when it comes to money
    (figures from Fincap 2018)

How to spot the signs of poor financial wellbeing

Spotting the signs of poor financial wellness can be tricky.  However, the earlier it is spotted the better so that the much-needed support can be given. But how do you spot it when someone needs help?  Here are some signs to look out for:

  • They seem quiet or subdued or short tempered
  • They avoid group outings or events where spending money is involved
  • They seem to have the latest gadget, new clothes, watches etc.
  • They make jokes about not having any money
  • They have had a life event that has affected their income
  • Taking days off from work
  • They are not sleeping and are constantly tired
  • Lack of concentration, motivation and productivity

Getting Ready to Have THAT Chat

Here are a few tips on how to prepare for what might be a tricky conversation:

  • Choose your timing carefully. There will never be a perfect time but ask them if now is a good time, if not when?  
  • Keep your tone light, you don’t want to worry them
  • Choose the location with care.
  • Turn your phone to silent.
  • Think about what you want to say.

How to have a healthy conversation about money….

It is best if you approach the topic gently. An indirect approach can work very well – here are some examples:

  • Talk about something that is relevant to you right now – maybe you are struggling a bit and can share with them?  
  • Talk about something you heard on the radio or TV that could instigate a conversation
  • Tell of a friend that is experiencing some money difficulties.

Practice Your First Sentence

It may be that the softer approach doesn’t work, and you need to be a little more direct.  Having your first sentence prepared can be useful.  

Here are some ideas that might help you:

  • Hey, you seem a little distracted recently and I wondered if it might be money related.  I have worries too, can we chat?
  • I have been focusing on feeling better with my money situation recently.  Would you like to work with me?
  • It is only halfway through the month and my money is nearly gone, how about you?  I could do with a friendly ear and thought of you.

Conversation Tips

Take your financial wellbeing into account.  You are human and not perfect.  Your emotions are important – their responses may affect you. Be aware of this. Try not to get angry or upset.  Notice how you feel and give yourself some time to address how you feel later – you may need support too.  

Here are some tips for a healthy conversation:

  • Try not to judge.  We are all different and think and believe differently about money.  Listen to what they have to say with curiosity and good intention.  Judging them will encourage them to shut down.
  • Listen and listen some more.  Spaces in the conversation are fine.  Notice when they are thinking and allow them space to think and speak.  Try not to interrupt their flow.  Sometimes them expressing freely is a solution in itself.
  • Bring the conversation back to topic if it strays.
  • Ask them what they need to help the situation BUT…
  • Don’t think you have to fix everything.  Listen out for what they need and think about the best help for them.  You don’t have to have all the answers.
  • If you get negative reactions, don’t worry.  Try to stay open minded and do the best you can.  
    When they come up with a good point, acknowledge it.
  • Let them know that you have heard them and both of you consider the next steps

Bite sized tips

  • If you think someone is struggling don’t ignore it
  • You are not responsible for their financial wellbeing but you can help them get help
  • Try to have a conversation with them
  • Prepare what you want to say a little
  • Practice your opening sentence
  • Pick your time and place carefully
  • Try not to judge
  • Listen more than you talk
  • Plan a follow up