What is financial wellbeing?

Date Published: 17/06/2019 12:17

Increasingly, people are talking about financial wellbeing. But what does it actually mean?

Financial wellbeing is about having a sense of confidence and security around money. It’s about having enough money to meet every day needs and having the financial freedom to make choices that enable you to enjoy life.

The increasing awareness raising of mental health problems in the UK has brought about the rise in financial wellbeing as a concept. A study [1] in 2014 reported that 1 in 6 people experience a mental health problem in any given week. It’s quite common to find issues related to money as one of these, but most people think that just means those on lower incomes struggling to make ends meet. In fact, this is not the case.

In our experience, even seemingly successful and affluent people worry about money. But as financial planners, our role is to give people reassurance and confidence about their current and financial future. We help them to develop an overall plan which helps them to live a confident and enjoyable life while also spending and saving money where required.

The principles of money and happiness

The relationship between money and happiness is often related to our own individual backgrounds. Some of us are natural savers, some are spenders – it comes down to personal preference.

The saying goes that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ but is that really true? Studies show that there is in fact a level of wealth required to bring happiness, but beyond that point, the link between money and happiness is less clear. What we do know is that material possessions are secondary to buying experiences when it comes to making people happy. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t feel good about buying material things we don’t really need. It’s a very complex issue.

Addressing the issue

Many initiatives are being delivered, including within our profession – this year has seen the launch of The Financial Wellbeing Conference for financial advisers and planners. But probably the most significant impact is being made in the workplace.

Through workshops and training, we are seeing that employers are increasingly providing important financial wellbeing and education to employees. They are now recognising the role it can play in maintaining a happy and productive workplace and ensuring the emotional wellbeing of employees. External providers are often used to provide the training, although we are starting to see roles dedicated to this within larger corporate business.

What does this mean for financial planners?

Our role as financial advisers and planners is to provide confidence in relation to money, enabling our clients to live a full and enjoyable life.

We know from experience that we play a very important part in the lives of our clients. Our role is an objective one – we take a step back, help clients to see a full picture of their financial situation and to understand what actions to take to ensure they maintain current and future financial security.

Ultimately, providing for your financial wellbeing is part of our purpose.

[1] McManus S, Bebbington P, Jenkins R, Brugha T. (eds.) (2016). Mental health and wellbeing in England: Adult psychiatric morbidity survey 2014. Leeds: NHS digital.

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