Blue Monday, which falls on 15th January this year, is often referred to as the most depressing day of the year with the post-Christmas blues, returning to work and credit card bills coming in.
Money and wellbeing are intertwined, many of us start the new year focusing on improving our health but to help avoid feeling miserable at this gloomy time of year, spend time trying to ensure your financial health is also in good condition.
Greg Tait, financial planner at wealth manager RBC Brewin Dolphin’s Cardiff office said:
“Financial wellbeing involves feeling secure and in control, making the most of your money day to day and dealing with the unexpected. It might seem odd to reach out to a financial adviser when you’re feeling low, but if your worries relate to your finances then speaking to an adviser could be time well spent.”
The rising cost of living is taking a toll on the nation’s mental health. According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, almost half of people (49%) have experienced negative feelings as a result of the rise in the cost of living and 41% have felt anxious.
“It isn’t just those with a lack of money who are vulnerable to finance-related stress, the cost of living has affected many people and complex personal finances can also be stressful. The link between money and wellbeing is well-established, it may be the case that improving your financial wellbeing not only boosts your finances, but also increases your happiness and overall satisfaction with life.”
Greg Tait provides his top principles for managing your financial wellbeing:
1. Feeling in control
The first element of financial wellbeing is about feeling in control of your finances. This means having a firm grasp of your incomings and outgoings, and a solid budgeting and savings plan. Combing through your bank statements so that you are more aware of your monthly spending and find ways to spend less and save more. Also looking at any debts and how best to tackle these. Taking control of your day-to-day finances can help you feel more secure about your overall financial situation.
2. Capacity to absorb a financial shock
The second element relates to feeling more secure about your future finances. You might be saving regularly, but would your finances hold up in an emergency? If you haven’t built up a ‘rainy day’ fund, now is the time to do so. Having around six months’ worth of essential expenditure in an easy-access savings account could help you pay for unexpected repairs to your home or cover you during a period of unemployment.
There are other financial shocks which savings alone may not cover. Serious illness or death could cause a major hit to your household finances and jeopardise your family’s plans for the future. Taking out protection products such as life insurance, critical illness and income protection could provide vital financial support for your loved ones should the worst happen to you. Protection products vary enormously, so it’s crucial to find the right solution for your individual needs.
3. Stay on track to meet goals
You’re more likely to have a high sense of financial wellbeing if you feel like you’re on track to meet your objectives. Whether your goals include paying for your children’s education, saving up for a comfortable retirement or passing on a legacy to future generations, a financial adviser can help you determine whether you are on track and, if not, what could do to try to make up the shortfall. An adviser can also help you save and invest tax efficiently, for example through ISAs and pensions, so that more of your money goes towards your future.
4. Flexibility to make choices
The final element of financial wellbeing is having the freedom to make choices to enjoy life to the full. Buildinga picture of your life and a projection of how long your money could last is really useful. If you can ‘rehearse your future’ by exploring and stress testing the impact of the choices you make today. Whether it’s working less to spend more time with family, retiring early or selling a business, understanding the impact of your decisions helps to provide clarity and confidence about your finances, both today and well into the future.
The value of investments can fall and you may get back less than you invested. This does not constitute tax or legal advice. Tax treatment depends on the individual circumstances of each client and may be subject to change in the future. Information is provided only as an example and is not a recommendation to pursue a particular strategy. Information contained in this document is believed to be reliable and accurate, but without further investigation cannot be warranted as to accuracy or completeness.
RBC Brewin Dolphin is a trading name of Brewin Dolphin Limited. Brewin Dolphin Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Financial Services Register reference number 124444) and regulated in Jersey by the Financial Services Commission. Registered Office: 12 Smithfield Street, London, EC1A 9BD. Registered in England and Wales company number: 2135876. VAT number: GB 690 8994 69.