Why money matters SecurityStatusFreedom The root of all evil?
Financial capability 1.Manage money: ‘make ends meet’ and keep track of finances 2.Plan ahead: deal with financial commitments in the future 3.Choose products: select and purchase financial products appropriately 4.Stay informed: keep abreast of changes to products and the economy Only a minority of people are capable in all 4 domains. Financial Services Authority
This research Our aims: Gain first-hand insight from vulnerable people Develop a framework for understanding Consider how support can be improved Our method: Action research with support workers 63 service users completed questionnaires Partnership with Thames Reach and with support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Attitudes, experiences and behaviour Acceptance of not having much money Hostility to money ‘Just getting by’ Coping well for now Overcoming problems in the past Shopping around and getting a good deal Impulsive expenditure Mixed blessings of family and friends Reluctance to ask for return of loans
Attitudes, experiences and behaviour (2) “I would love to have more money. I know it wouldn’t solve all my problems, but it would make things better. I wouldn’t be stuck here in this flat in this situation. I’d have more choice about where I lived. I’d have more choice in life.” “I’m just getting by, I’m not good with money and I find I can’t save. Money sliips through my fingers” (male, 47) “When I was on the streets I saved some money even then. I didn’t spend it all. I bought my friends drinks...Now I’ve got so much saved I don’t know what to do with it. [If I had less money] I’d make it last. It wouldn’t be a problem.” (female, 38)
Financial problems now and in the past Problems with benefit administration Family conflict Mental health Alcohol and drugs Exploitation of vulnerable people
Savings, borrowing and debt Saving for a ‘rainy day’ A desire to save ‘Living for today’ Debt
Savings, borrowing and debt (2) “It’s very important I think, it’s good to save. What if something breaks and it needs replacing? When my TV broke my sister had to lend me the £150 to repair it and then I paid her back. Though I think it’s good to save, it’s easier said than done in practice.” “I don’t save money. I’m disorganised and always in debt. I spend more than comes in therefore I’m always playing catch up and behind constantly. I’ve never been in control even when working.” (male, 60) “I’ve been in debt pretty much my whole adult life. I moved to London in 2001 and on JSA. I got into debt straightaway by spending money frequently...My current situation has improved since I went to debt advice services. Other people are helping me. My brother is paying off a lot...my boyfriend is paying too.”
Using money to meet aspirations Modest, everyday wishes for security and permanence Less money might make people look for a job Managing money for personal achievements Desire for gadgets More money to improve family relationships Aspiring to property ownership Long-term financial goals
Using money to meet aspirations (2) “I’d like to make improvements to my flat and have a nice holiday. Make sure all my bills are paid. Have a nice social life” “I’d buy a house in Birmingham where my boyfriend lives and think about opening a shop ion Nigeria, where he’s from originally.” “I would visit my son and spend the day together at the seaside maybe, have a meal or buy my son some clothes. I’d put some of it in my son’s account and have driving lessons” (male, 45)
Conclusions The stereotypes don’t match reality: Some people are coping well with money People rely on friends and family and help them out in return Many had problems with money due to addictions, health problems or conflicts.
Conclusions (2) In the future people want: A life free from debt A secure life The means to earn respect from friends and family To meet short term goals for homeliness and comfort To meet personal goals and ambitions The feeling of freedom
What can support workers do? Day-to-day budgeting and money management – not just welfare benefits Overcoming financial problems, particularly debt Setting short-term goals and making financial plans (e.g. saving for clothes or household items) Setting long-term personal ambitions (e.g. holidays, flats or reconnecting with family) Managing disappointment and not losing heart Improving confidence in using financial products