Wellbeing is a real buzzword or concept that we are used to hearing. But what does it mean? To me, wellbeing is a state of happiness or contentment which embodies both physical and emotional wellness and health.
Over the past few months, I have been actively taking steps to improve my wellbeing. I have joined a gym Iron Zuu, dropped a dress size and overhauled my diet. I have come to realise that food is fuel and eating the right nutrients in the right quantities makes me feel better.
Yet wellness is more than just physical health, it includes our work-life balance and all aspects of our emotional wellbeing including our relationship with money. In recognising the impact that money has on our lives there is now a new public awareness week from the Money Advice Service, called Talk Money Week. This aims to help encourage people to have more open conversations about money.
Talk Money Week is being held from 12-18 November and will include events and activations across the UK designed to help people have more open conversations about money.
During Talk Money Week, the Money Advice Service and their partners are encouraging Brits to sit down with their friends, loved ones and family to speak about their personal finances – from saving to using credit cards, from pocket money to pensions. It is the perfect time to overhaul your money and maybe set some goals. On a personal level, I have two financial areas that I am looking at because money conversations are not just applicable to those in debt, many of us just ignore the topic and do not look at how we can make our money work smarter of us.
I am undertaking some long term financial planning with my husband and I am also looking at how else I can ensure my teens are learning about managing money in a responsible way.
- Firstly, the long-term planning. We are fortunate in that we have 7 years left on our mortgage and we are looking at how we can reduce the interest and balance we have left to pay. If we continue as we are, we will be paying a further 10K in interest for the rest of the term. Last year I inherited money and this is my safety net, especially as I am not paying into a pension currently. I don’t need the cash right now and therefore it seems smart to pay off a chunk of the mortgage and stop paying such a huge sum in interest. This will actually make a huge impact on our long time costs by helping us pay off the remainder quicker and reduce that 10K interest.
- Secondly parenting teens is a huge responsibility and teaching them financial literacy is really important to me. Both Lee and myself were bought up not use credit cards, only buy what you can afford and as a result, we have had no debts other than student loans and the mortgage. Even buying cars has been after we have saved for them. Having debt worries me and I think it must be a drain on your emotional health and a constant source of worry and stress. Therefore we have never gone down that path, although I am the first to admit that we have also been quite privileged and had well-paid employment. I want my children to have the same approach to money and saving. There are a number of ways I hope we have instilled this into them.
- We discuss how much things cost, especially things like holidays because they are luxuries and we want the children to see that they are expensive but the holidays are not essential. We don’t have ‘big’ holidays every year and we have saved for them as a family.
- I encouraged Dylan to take business studies as an option at school as I think it is a great way to understand more about how money works, paying tax etc. I wish there was more emphasis on this in the curriculum for all children. My eldest has said previously that she wishes she learnt about financial planning, mortgages, pensions, tax, payslips etc in school. I remember when Chloe got her first payslip from her first-weekend job it really confused her. I am sure many others don’t understand their payslips and that is unfathomable to me and should be taught and explained.
- In preparation for Chloe going to University, she practised living off her £45 per week allowance when we were on holiday. It gave her a taste of what was to come and so far she is managing her money.
- I think it is really important not to give your teens everything but instead give them an allowance to learn how to budget. Dyl is a huge football fan and goes to all of our local teams home games. Plus he also has a penchant for designer clothes! Therefore he has a monthly budget to spend as he pleases. This helps him plan for the month ahead.
Talking about money is really important as it puts you in control and therefore Talk Money Week can only be good for us all and encouraging us to have these conversations will aid our emotional wellbeing. Get more tips about how to start the conversations with family and friends at https://talkmoneyweek.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/
Disclossure: In association with the Money Advice Service