Published date: 13 August 2021

Financial Wellbeing: A moment with Emma Waller

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, NHS Property Services (NHSPS) launched a wellbeing programme to look after colleagues during such a challenging time.

As part of this, NHSPS are currently running monthly, live, wellbeing webinars for all colleagues at NHSPS. These webinars are designed to provide colleagues with the tools they need to look after their wellbeing more effectively and they cover topics such as nutrition, mindfulness, preventing burnout, mental health awareness, managing anxiety and building resilience.

NHSPS spoke to Emma Waller from MoneyMinded about the importance and meaning of financial wellbeing.

What does financial wellbeing mean?

Financial wellbeing is about having the confidence to able to make informed decisions around money.  It means having a considered plan for your money – setting goals and having a plan of achieving them.  It’s also important to recognise that our financial priorities change as our life events change from saving for a first mortgage to understanding the impact of your pension on your future lifestyle. 

Financial wellbeing also means building resilience so that we have the ability to cope with financial shocks.  This has really come to light over the past 18 months with the pandemic as it has turned many of our financial journeys upside down. 

On a more practical level, financial wellbeing is also about being in control of our day-to-day finances and also having sufficient knowledge and understanding to consider appropriate financial products to support us and our families. 

Why is financial wellbeing important for mental health?

Many of us spend a lot of time and energy worrying about money, our future wealth and mistakes we may have made with money in the past.  If we can reduce our money anxieties by building financial resilience then our overall wellbeing can also improve too.

When we are stressed, we are often not in the best frame of mind to make informed decisions about our money.  In fact, research has demonstrated that there is a clear correlation between financial stress and poor physical and emotional health. Therefore, if we can build some financial wellbeing tools, tips and tricks into our day-to-day activities, this will encourage healthy habits with our money then our confidence and skills will also grow.  This is not easy to achieve as we need persistence, patience and practice to make lasting changes.

It also worth noting too that if you make positive changes around your money journey it’s important to celebrate this too.

What are the common causes of poor financial wellbeing?

Unfortunately we don’t learn about how to manage money at school so much of it starts with a lack of education. I speak to loads of people who say to me “I’ve never been told this before, how I am I expected to know this!” and this is really common. 

This lack of financial literacy can also lead to poor confidence around money too as we’re never quite sure if we are making the right decisions or if we’re considering the right financial options that meet our needs.  This can also be compounded by so much misinformation about there in the media and the potential threats of financial scams too.

Another common cause of poor financial wellbeing is our own mindset.  If we tell ourselves that we’re rubbish with money or that we’ll never be able to afford a mortgage then we’ll start to believe this as the truth (even if it’s not!) so it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Being able to shift our language and stop these self-limiting beliefs is much easier said than done but with again, persistence, patience and practice, it can be achieved.

What advice would you give someone struggling with financial wellbeing?

Firstly I would suggest that you talk to a friend or family member who you trust.  We’re not really very good at talking about money but a problem shared really is a problem halved.  They won’t be able to clear your debt but they may help to clarify your thoughts and actually saying it out loud can also be really beneficial. 

If you don’t want to speak to a family member or a friend, there are some great money coaches out there too who can help you understand your relationship with money and discuss strategies to help you improve your money mindset.

If you are struggling with debt and/or meeting your day-to-day expenses, please speak to debt advice or a debt charity for example StepChange, Citizens Advice or National Debtline.  They all provide fantastic support and offer great guidance on their websites too.

Why is it important to talk about mental health in the workplace?

Being able to talk about mental health, including our financial health, helps us to acknowledge our situation and reminds us that help is available and we're not struggling alone.  What’s more, is also crucial for our performance at work.  If we are struggling then it stands to reason that we are going to be less productive.  In fact, in a recent survey, 90% of UK employers agreed that financial concerns have an impact on workplace performance. 

Therefore if employers are able to provide strategies and tools to help the workforce better manage their money then they can help overcome these problems and improve performance.

Finally always remember to be kind to yourself.  You can’t change what has happened in the past but you can change the future.  Make small money improvements regularly and don’t worry about how long it takes, you’re in this for the long haul, good luck!


Colleague wellbeing handbook

We’d like to create a workplace where we are all more aware of our own mental health, where we know how to proactively look after our wellbeing, and where we are well equipped to have conversations around mental health and support each other. Take a look at our colleague handbook to find out how we're supporting our people.