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Financial Capability Week – encouraging people across the UK to #TalkMoney

  • By Sue Whitbread

 ●      6 in 10 working-age people do not seek help when they experience a life event that could impact their finances

●      Only half of all working-age people are aware that they can get free or low-cost financial support

●      Those with children in the home are 31% more likely to seek help with money matters compared to those without

●      18 million adults in the UK lack number skills to manage money well

These are the stark findings from research carried out by the Money Advice Service as part of the UK’s second Financial Capability (FinCap) Week which takes place this week (Nov 13-29). The purpose of this year’s theme #TalkMoney is to encourage people to do just that, to talk about money in the workplace, community and across social media platforms.  Co-ordinated by the Money Advice Service (MAS), the week is organised as part of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK. Although the campaign is largely aimed directly at consumers,  it reminds us of the role which the advice profession can play in extending financial fitness to greater numbers of people across the UK.

More than 100 events will take place throughout the week and involve a wide range of organisations working together to help people deal with money better, as well as those keen to get more involved with these issues.  Activities will bring together charities, financial services, employers, industry leaders, policy makers, academics and practitioners to discuss, showcase and amplify the work under way to improve financial capability across the UK.

The week will also see the #TalkMoney Conference take place in London on Thursday 16 November.  Speakers include the Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, Guy Opperman MP and Money Saving Expert and founder of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, Martin Lewis.

Events taking place during FinCap week include:

  • The Improvement Service in Scotland are running a series of webinars to showcase good practice and share learning with organisations delivering money support
  • The Open University’s True Potential Centre for the Public Understanding of Finance are holding their annual conference, Financial Education – What Works? on Tuesday in London
  • Tech City ‘Fintech for All’ Awards – to be announced for FinTech start-ups for innovative money management interventions – takes place on Wednesday evening in London
  • ‘Savings v Debt’ will be the hot topics at CHASM/University of Birmingham and Toynbee Hall’s Summit in Birmingham on Wednesday
  • In Belfast, Clanmill Housing and Kith & Kin will be offering Money Makeover sessions for residents on Wednesday
  • The Friendly Society are running peer support sessions on money management for carers in Cardiff on Thursday
  • The National Youth Agency are running a No Spend Day Challenge on Friday

Research carried out by MAS found that 6 in 10 of the working-age population do not seek help when going through life events which could impact their finances such as starting a family, loss of a job, divorce or a bereavement. And only half of all working-age people are aware that they can get free or low-cost financial support.

Using data from the British Cohort Study, MAS highlights how skills and behaviours attained as early as five years of age can have a direct impact on adult money management capabilities.

The Money Advice Service and charity National Numeracy recently launched the Numeracy and Financial Capability Report which highlighted that 18 million adults currently lack the skills and confidence to manage money well.

Over the course of the week, research will be shared by many other organisations which will give better understanding around financial behaviours and how to improve them.

Commenting on the launch of Financial Capability Week, David Haigh, Director of Financial Capability at the Money Advice Service said. “We’re thrilled to see the momentum behind the second Financial Capability Week and the Talk Money Conference.  As research clearly shows, the UK is facing a whole raft of challenges when it comes to managing money.”

“We all have a responsibility to ensure future generations are armed with the skills and confidence they need to manage their money. It’s great to see organisations across the UK joining in support of this goal and we hope that the events taking place throughout the week will help ensure people across the nation will ultimately become more financially capable.”

Financial capability needs the support of the advice profession the whole year round – not just this week. If you’re considering how your business can get involved in delivering better financial capability, then this week’s initiatives might just give you some ideas on how you can participate more fully in 2018 and use your skills and knowledge to make an even bigger difference to a broader range of people.

You can join in the online Twitter conversation @FinCapStrategy using #TalkMoney.