Cost of Living in the Workplace: The true cost of money worries

Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), a leading suicide prevention charity, and MoneySuperMarket are launching Money Talks, a new campaign to break down the taboo around talking about money, as new research reveals that 8 in 10 UK adults worry about money and a quarter worry about money at least once a day.

Despite this, the research reveals that three quarters of people haven’t talked to anyone about their money worries. One in four (24%) consider talking about money worries to be a bigger taboo than talking about politics (13%), gambling (15%), or mental health (20%).

Almost half (40%) of UK adults also say financial worries have negatively affected their mental health in the last 12 months, leaving people suffering from low mood (41%), feeling guilty about spending on non-essential items (34%), anxious (33%), and lonely or isolated (26%). Over a fifth of people also said they felt feelings of inadequacy (23%) and reduced self-worth (22%).

1 in 2 people are more worried about money than they were 12 months ago with quality of sleep (38%), productivity at work (20%) and relationships with family (18%) and friends (19%) being negatively affected as a result. Over a third of people (36%) have had to use their savings to get by in the last 12 months. Many have stopped doing things they love that help their mental and physical health such as seeing friends (33%), travelling to see family (44%) and giving up small treats that brought them happiness (39%).

The research revealed that the main reasons people don’t share money worries is because they don’t want to be an emotional burden to friends and family (30%), they think money worries are universal and everyone has them (28%), they feel embarrassed (15%), trapped in their financial situation (27%) or they don’t think anybody would be able to help them (16%). All of which can add to mental strain and challenges to mental health.

Over half (51%) said they wish the stigma that surrounds talking about money worries didn’t exist and 16% said information on how to approach conversations around money and mental health would make it easier to open up.

However, people who have spoken about their money worries said they felt supported (55%), relieved (32%) and hopeful (25%) after their conversation. If a friend or family member were to tell them that they were worrying about money, the majority would listen (70%) and be glad they could confide in them (60%).

In response to the research findings, CALM and MoneySuperMarket have joined forces to launch Money Talks – a series of powerful videos and online resources to break down taboos around talking about money, with tips for how to have conversations, and to support mental health and financial know how.

1 in 4 said something that would help them was knowing that they’re not alone in experiencing money worries that affect their mental health. In the Money Talks videos, author Sam Delaney, podcaster Milena Sanchez and social housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa share the impact money worries have had on their mental health and how breaking the taboo and talking about money worries made a difference.

Sam Delaney said: “I used to keep my money worries from my wife, which really impacted my mental health due to bottling everything up. Now we have a very open relationship where we talk about money honestly and it hugely helped.”

Wendy Robinson, Head of Services, Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) said: ‘When the cost-of-living crisis began, our services saw a 43% increase in chats about cash, and they’ve remained steady since then. The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on people’s mental health and more people than ever are turning to CALM. This year, we hope to help even more people with potentially lifesaving calls via our helpline and webchat.”

Peter Duffy, CEO of Moneysupermarket Group, said: “We’ve partnered with CALM to support their work to help prevent suicide. Our joint campaign ‘Money Talks’ aims to break the taboo of talking about financial difficulties and suicide, and our Money Talks online hub provides information, guides and tips from MoneySuperMarket’s experts.”