It’s Men’s Health Week, when men are encouraged to talk more about their health problems and worries. This year, financial worries – particularly in light of the coronavirus pandemic – are on the rise, and this can have a huge impact on both physical and mental wellbeing.
Here, Jason Hollands of wealth managers Tilney offers some advice on how men can talk about and ease their money worries.
1. Go back to basics and review your financial situation
Most of us don’t keep tabs on how much money is leaving our bank accounts every month, but it’s never been so important to review your financial situation. What are your outgoings versus income? Going back to basics and monitoring your finances will help you have a better understanding of where you could make cutbacks, where you may need some additional support and any extra money you could add to your savings or investments.
2. Talk about the unexpected
It’s unsettling to think about losing your job, seeing a drop in earnings, or becoming unwell, let alone the prospect of having to care for a relative. Sadly, this is increasingly becoming a reality for many. Preparing for the unexpected, by getting the right advice, can help ease the stress should something happen while protecting your future. The personal strain is tough enough, the last thing you want to deal with alone is the financial impact. Whether you speak to a financial adviser, the job centre or a charity like Citizen’s Advice Bureau – there is help there.
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3. Talk about job loss
The current environment is challenging, and job security is certainly on the minds of a lot of people. Over 600,000 jobs were lost in April and May and 8.9 million people have now been furloughed. A similar scheme to support the self-employed has seen 2.6 million claims. The best thing is to do your research and find out whether you might be eligible to claim state benefits or what redundancy terms you may qualify for under your contract of employment. If you are of an age where you might be faced with the prospect of early retirement, then talking to a financial planner can help you work out whether this is feasible given your pension arrangements and ease the stress of dealing with your finances alone.
4. Talk about your savings and try not to panic
Saving, whether for a rainy day, your future or to get through tough times like the ones we’re experiencing across the globe, is one of the most significant financial challenges faced by most people. And the current crisis is throwing many savers into further confusion and panic, with interest rates cut to an all-time low and many companies having cut or scrapped their dividends this year. While interest rates on cash remain rock bottom, stock markets have recovered significantly since late March. The important thing is to stay calm and make sure your savings and investments are positioned well for the future. Many people have found that the lockdown period has considerably reduced their outgoings, so consider using any extra to build up your savings and investments.
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5. Pick up the phone and ask for help
If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage then speak to your bank. The Government and Bank of England initially agreed a plan with mortgage providers that will enable anyone struggling to pay their mortgage, due to any financial impact resulting from the coronavirus, to take a “mortgage holiday” and suspend payments for three months. This plan has now been extended for an additional three months – up to the end of October.