According to a recent UK survey carried out by market research company ComRes and insolvency & restructuring trade body, R3, 22% of all adults stated that their finances are affecting their mental health. The survey targeted over 2,000 British adults living East of England.
According to R3, the survey revealed other key causes of mental health issues revolving around personal health or family member health issues. Job, relationship and current global issues also account for some of the main causes of mental health problems in the UK.
The survey reveals that over 37% of all adults living in the Easter region don’t have enough money to wait for the next payday. They attribute their financial struggles to the rising cost of food (52%) and transport (45%).
According to Frank Brumby, R3 Eastern Chairman, financial struggles are universal regardless of the occupation, age or location of an individual. He goes ahead to state that financial worries have an enormous negative effect on a person’s well-being even if the concerns are about the financial situation of other people such as friends and family members.
According to R3 research findings as well as the experiences of R3 members’ clients, a lot must be done to educate people on the options available to them when they find themselves in debt problems. Brumby attests to the fact that improving financial education is among the best ways of reducing stress and mental health problems caused by debt.
R3 Eastern indicates that the personal finance landscape in the eastern region is relatively benign with real wages/income growing while interest rates remain low. Personal finance concerns have however remained sizeable. Bureaucratic obstacles are also stopping many people from taking advantage of the best suitable insolvency procedures.
Brumby continues to state that personal finance pressures will definitely increase in the region considering inflation is bound to rise throughout this year. There are many obstacles which can be solved by easing access to insolvency procedures. According to Brumby, the £680 fee payable by all individuals entering bankruptcy should be paid over time instead of one time to ease stress and boost mental recovery.
Below is a 9-point action plan by R3 Eastern to help anyone with financial/debt issues.
1. Acknowledge your debt problem: Refusing to admit that you have personal finance problem only makes the problems worse.
2. Ask for help: After admitting you have a debt problem, the next step is seeking professional advice. You can get professional financial advice easily for free. You can call the National Debtline, your local Citizens Advice Bureau or a licensed insolvency practitioner.
3. Prioritise debt repayment: Seeking professional advice will help you identify the source of your debt problems as well as effective ways of dealing with them. One of the best ways of dealing with debt problems is prioritising debt repayment. You must adjust your lifestyle to find money for repaying your debts. If you have problems doing this, you can ask for help from an advisor.
4. Be 100% honest with yourself: To solve personal debt problems, you must be honest about the kind of lifestyle you can afford while repaying your debts. Start by calculating how much money you owe. Proceed by adding your most important expenses. Your income should be able to cater for debt repayment as well as those expenses you can’t afford to live without. To accomplish this, you will need to take some drastic measures such as; looking for discounts more aggressively, moving to a cheaper home, etc.
5. Budget: Budgeting helps to identify essential financial commitments as well as trace where your money goes. When you are in debt, you don’t have the luxury of not following where every single cent you spend goes. Budgeting will help you get a true picture of your current financial situation. A budget will also help you stay on track as you try to get out of debt.
6. Maintain open communication with your creditors: Debt problems result in a lot of unnecessary stress due to lack of open communication at an early stage. If you let your creditor know that you have problems repaying as soon as possible, the creditor can extend help which might not be available if you waited. For instance, your creditor can revise payment terms giving you more time and flexibility.
7. Take your time: Although time may not be on your side when dealing with debt problems, avoid being pressurised to make decisions if you haven’t thought them through carefully. Most importantly, the decisions should be supported by expert advice.
8. Stop taking up new debt: You also need to stop applying for new credit cards, payday loans among other types of short-term debt before you get your situation under control.
9. Understand your options: Lastly, you need to know and understand all options available to you. If you need formal insolvency, there are several options appropriate for different debt levels. DROs (Debt Relief Orders) are great for small debt. Other options include; (IVAs) Individual Voluntary Agreements and bankruptcy. It costs more money and time to choose the wrong option so, make sure you understand all options first.