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Financial wellbeing

Wellbeing image - financial planning

Financial wellbeing is about having freedom to make choices for you and your loved ones and being able to cope with emergency or distress purchases. However, despite the best plans, financial worries can happen at anytime. 

The current cost of living crisis is taking a toll on the mental health of many people. Natasha Portman, a psychologist with Relate, agrees. “Money is notoriously difficult for people to speak about openly,” she says. “That’s because money worries are connected to lots of complicated feelings and emotions, such as guilt, shame and embarrassment, and feelings of not being good enough. For some people, it goes right to the root of their identity.” Below are links to various sources that could also help support your financial wellness.

Moneyhelper

MoneyHelper provides free, impartial help that’s quick to find, easy to use and backed by government.

Open to everyone, MoneyHelper is helping people to clear their debts, reduce spending and make the most of their income. MoneyHelper brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: Money Advice Service, The Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise. 

You can find specific support around key areas:

Hints and tips

This Hints and Tips document highlights ways that you can save as an employee of The University of Manchester. There is also signposting to various sources of advice that may be useful.

Mental health and your finances

According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute:

Financial difficulties are a common cause of stress and anxiety. Stigma around debt can mean that people struggle to ask for help and may become isolated. The impact on people’s mental health can be particularly severe if they resort to cutting back on essentials, such as heating and eating, or if creditors are aggressive or insensitive when collecting debts.

Financial difficulty drastically reduces recovery rates for common mental health conditions. People with depression and problem debt are 4.2 times more likely to still have depression 18 months later than people without financial difficulty.

People in problem debt are three times as likely to have thought about suicide in the past year. There is rarely one single factor that drives people to take their own life. Instead, typically, a range of social issues, life events, cognitive and personality factors are combined. However, there is a strong link between problem debt and suicide, and more than 100,000 people in England attempt suicide while in problem debt each year.

If you are currently experiencing any mental health concerns:

  • Do not delay contacting the University's employee assistance programme - Validium. They can offer confidential money and debt support. Lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – you’ll always be able to speak to someone who can help. Calls are confidential and what you say will never be shared with anyone at the University.
  • The University Counselling Service can offer face to face counselling and has on-line resources
  • The charity MIND gives information about the relationship between money worries and mental health, with suggestions on how to address them.
  • Coping with financial worries (NHS)
  • Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

Working Families support

The cost of living is affecting many working parents and carers across the UK. If you’re struggling to make ends meet the following guidance on financial support from Working Families might help.

Debt support

Breathing Space Scheme

Did you could get up to 60 days' respite from interest, fees, and court action to reduce stress and give you time to deal with your debts.

Breathing Space, officially called the Debt Respite Scheme, is a government scheme which could help relieve some of the pressure and stress caused by being in debt.

Step Change

Step Change has a team of debt experts that help hundreds of thousand of people a year to deal with their debt problems. With nearly 30 years experience, you can be confident that we can provide the advice and support you need to achieve long-term financial control.

We offer free, flexible debt advice that is based on a comprehensive assessment of your situation. We'll then provide practical help and support for however long it’s needed.

Debt Advice Foundation

The Debt Advice Foundation is a registered national debt advice and education charity offering free, confidential support and advice to anyone worried about loans, credit and debt.

If you need to talk to someone in confidence about your options, there’s no need to wait or book an appointment, our free debt advice helpline is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm on 0800 043 40 50.

Citizens Advice

If you are looking for information on debt management, the Citizens Advice website is a good place to go. You can also speak to a Citizens Advice debt advisor who will offer you free, impartial and professional advice.

Validium

If you are experiencing any mental distress due to money worries do not delay contacting the University's employee assistance programme - Validium. They also can offer confidential money and debt support. 

University support

The University provides numerous ways to help save you money and support your financial wellbeing:

  • Save money on day to day purchases and luxury items with the UniDiscounts and Vivup
  • Cyclescheme - Purchasing a bike via our Cycle to Work Scheme helps you save 25-39% on a new bike to commute to work.
  • Workplace Nursery Scheme - you can opt to pay the full nursery costs directly from your gross income (this is your pay before tax and NI) instead of part of your salary. You only then pay tax and NI on your salary after the childcare vouchers/fees have been deducted – so you can save hundreds of pounds a year.
  • Annual Season Ticket Loans - The University can provide eligible employees with an interest free Season Ticket Loan to enable the purchase of public transport annual season tickets.  For even greater savings some transport operators offer special discounts to University employees.
  • On campus sport and fitness classes - Affordable and accessible classes each day.
  • Further Education and Higher Education (FE/HE) Funding Scheme - Ways to study and develop your career.
  • FoodinAdvance Use your staff card to save 10% across food on campus is so simple:
  • MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to enroll. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career 
  • Pre-retirement Courses - to help you be better prepared.

If you are experiencing any mental distress due to money worries do not delay contacting the University's employee assistance programme - Validium. They can offer confidential money and debt support. 

For staff supporting students

If you have a job role that may involve giving financial support to students you can direct them to the University's student wellbeing pages.

Credit Unions

A credit union is a financial co-operative which provides savings, loans and a range of services, such as a Christmas Club, to its members. Membership is restricted to persons who fall within a common bond such as where you live. Unlike banks, credit unions are not for profit. They are owned by the people who use their services, so the emphasis is not on maximising profits but on providing the best service to members. Like high street banks, they are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Credit union appeal to those who want to benefit their community or are looking for ethical financial services.

Two local credit unions for staff living in the Manchester area are:

Manchester Credit Union

South Manchester Credit Union

If you are interested in signing up with a Credit Union based near your home location, The Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) has a Find Your Credit Union website. If you'd prefer, you can call ABCUL on 0800 015 3060.

Moneysavingexpert.com

You can access guidance and support on managing your money via MoneySavingExpert.com

Martin Lewis's free site saves you money. Beat the system on credit cards, shopping, special offers, mortgages, council tax, interest rate payments and more. You can also receive the latest deals, guides, tips 'n' tricks directly from Martin Lewis and the MSE team by signing up for a weekly email.