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Report links money worries to mental health


06 Jun 17

New research from The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute shows how money worries affect mental health and performance at work.

The report – titled Overstretched, Overdrawn, Underserved: Financial difficulty and mental health at work – found that over two thirds of employees who are struggling financially report at least one sign of poor mental health that could affect their ability to function at work, which means almost a million British workers are in this position. The analysis also found that people with money worries are 50% more likely to show signs of poor mental health than people who feel comfortable about their finances.

In addition to struggling with sleep, concentration and productivity, employees in financial difficulty also reported particular issues with workplace relationships and juggling the demands of multiple jobs or managing financial administration during work hours.

Of additional concern is that it is not just those that are experiencing difficulties that are affected. There is also a noticeable difference in the symptoms of poor wellbeing among employees who identified themselves as “just about managing” financially, suggesting that even a less intense financial strain can have an impact on both wellbeing and productivity.

Director of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute Polly Mackenzie said: “Worrying about making ends meet can pervade every aspect of life, from our relationships, to our sleep, so there’s no wonder it’s affecting our performance at work. The good news is that there are practical, and achievable, things that employers can do to invest in the financial wellbeing of their workforce, improving both their employees’ mental health and their own bottom-line.”

The report recommends that employers should boost their employees’ financial security by providing both savings schemes and short-term loans through payroll, allowing a lower rate of interest to be offered and helping employees to avoid fees and charges.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: “We welcome this new research which demonstrates why improving people’s financial wellbeing is not only good for employees, but good for employers and for the wider economy too.

“Many employers have already taken steps to partner with credit unions to provide the easy regular savings and affordable loans repaid direct from payroll which can play such a big part in improving financial health, and we hope this new research will encourage many more to offer this service.”

The latest research builds on the findings of the report from the Fairbanking Foundation which was published in February and showed how credit unions’ Save As You Borrow loan products are extremely effective in turning borrowers into savers and help people build up savings for the first time, making a significant contribution to improving their financial wellbeing. The report found that while 71% of people never or only occasionally saved before borrowing from a credit union, 71% of people intend on saving regularly afterwards.

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