Being in control of finances has positive effect on mental well-being says Age UK
By: Age UK
Published on 19 November 2018 12:00 AM
New research shows those in control of their finances feel generally calmer, happier and less worried – yet two million over-65s have no one they feel comfortable talking to about money
New research for Age UK shows the importance of older people feeling on top of their finances, with a third (33 per cent) of those aged 65+ saying they feel generally calmer and happier as a result of feeling in control and a third (34 per cent) admitting they worry less. However, in contrast the Charity reveals one in six over-65s (two million ) have no-one to talk to about money issues.
The new findings, released today by Age UK to mark Talk Money Week, which aims to get more people talking about money, demonstrate a link between money worries and mental wellbeing. And although the vast majority of over-65s surveyed feel in control of their day-to-day finances, more than one in six (17%) are just getting by or finding it difficult to manage on their weekly income, rising to more than one in four (23%) for single over-65s.
In fact a much higher number of those who are on their own because they are single, widowed, separated or divorced, reported having nobody to talk to about money issues – 31 per cent of single older people and 21 per cent of widowed, divorced or separated, compared to just seven per cent of those who are married or living with a partner, and 16 per cent of all older people on average.
Worryingly, 14% of the over-65s surveyed said they are more worried about their financial situation than this time last year, with one in 12 saying they would find it difficult to pay for an unexpected bill of £200 to replace an essential item such as washing machine or cooker.
As part of Talk Money Week, Age UK is urging any older person who is struggling to stay on top of their finances, or just needs someone to talk to, to get in touch for free and confidential information and advice – either by calling its national advice line on Freephone 0800 169 6565 or via its website www.ageuk.org.uk/lets-talk-money.
Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s Charity Director, said: “Being in control of your finances, regardless of how much money you have, is clearly a key component of good mental health and can make a big difference to how we feel about life generally.
“At Age UK we believe that each and every older person should have enough money to live without having to struggle and participate fully in society. Without that it’s easy to see how people can feel unhappy, anxious and less connected to the outside world.
“It’s important to talk about these things, especially as we know that there many older people who aren’t receiving the help and support they are entitled to. That’s why we’re urging anyone who is struggling financially, or is worried about a friend or relative, to get in touch with us for help and advice on how to get on top of their finances and feel more in control.”
Age UK provides a wide range of expert information on money-related issues, available free of charge from its advice line or website: www.ageuk.org.uk/money. This includes an online benefit checker which allows people to find out, quickly and easily, what money benefits they are entitled to. Our online and hard copy information guides cover topics including More money in your pocket and Getting help with debt.
Age UK is encouraging people to get behind its No one should have no one to turn to campaign to help ensure that the Charity’s essential services, such as the free Age UK Advice Line, can continue to be there for older people and their families. For more information on No one should have no one to turn to or to donate, visit www.ageuk.org.uk/noone.
AGE UK’S TOP TIPS ON MANAGING MONEY
See accompanying sheet for more information and contact details for free information and advice.
1. Speak up: If you’re finding it hard to cope financially, don’t suffer in silence. If you’re aged 65 or over, you could be entitled to benefits that you haven’t been able to claim before.
2. Get a benefits check: Contact your local Age UK to get a benefits check to make sure you’re claiming all the money you’re entitled to.
3. Help with keeping warm this winter: If you are struggling to keep warm this winter, you may be eligible for help to save money on your energy bills.
4. Prioritise debts and seek help: There are organisations to help you who will be sympathetic and understanding. ‘Priority bills’ are the ones for which non-payment could lead to serious trouble. Don’t panic if you’re behind on any of these bills. Contact a specialist advice agency for help.
5. Work out a household budget: Review your spending and think carefully about whether there are any non-essential items you could cut out. Be realistic and don’t cut back on essentials like food and heating.
Notes to editors:
Age UK’s Advice Line is a free, confidential phone service for older people, their families, friends, and carers. It is staffed by a team of expert advisers and open every day of the year (8am–7pm). People can call Age UK Advice on Freephone 0800 169 6565 or visit www.ageuk.org.uk/money for a wealth of information on claiming money benefits and social fund entitlements or grants, transport and TV licence concessions, urgent one-off expenses, cutting energy and water costs, and getting help with debt.
 A F2F Omnibus study carried out of a nationally representative sample of UK adults aged 50+ by Kantar TNS
 ONS (2017 Mid-year population estimates, UK). No of over 50s in the UK is 24,440,415. 14% of this number equals 3,421,658.
 Talk Money Week (12-18 November 2018) is the annual event organised as part of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK and aims to get more people talking about money. https://talkmoneyweek.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/
 Research by the Money Advice Service in 2016 also found that only 54 per cent of older people who live alone talk to anyone about money, rising to 81 per cent of older people in couples.