Us Brits feel it’s easier to talk about mental health than money. According to a recent survey, 25% of people questioned said they wouldn’t discuss personal finances because it made them feel nervous and anxious. 20% wouldn’t disclose their salary to friends and most wouldn’t talk about money at work.
It’s a tricky topic that’s up for discussion in the third episode of the new podcast Deal With It, brought to you by Corsodyl Toothpaste, who are on a mission to get us all talking about those uncomfortable issues we choose to ignore – whether that’s your attitude to money or your oral health!
Exploring exactly why money is still such a taboo subject Lianna Brinded, Head of Yahoo Finance UK offered her insights to Ellie on some of the more awkward financial issues we face.
Money attitude - what type are you?
Attitudes to money vary wildly, but people generally fall into four categories:
Spenders Money goes out almost as fast as it comes in. Spenders often have lavish lifestyles, lovely homes and a shopping habit. They find it hard to save money and are in danger of racking up big debts.
Builders Money is a tool, made to work, perhaps building a business, investing in talent or financing expensive hobbies. Builders are often risk takers; ventures often succeed, but they can sometimes fail.
Givers Generous and charitable, givers love lavishing gifts and money on friends, family, causes and the wider community. They are sometimes so busy looking after others that they forget their own needs.
Savers Money comes in and stays in. Savers often have modest lifestyles, dislike wasting money, and may be risk averse. Sometimes, they forget to enjoy their money and miss out on the fun things it can buy.
Money and work
Work is the source of most of our money, and some of the trickier money issues to address.
Getting a pay rise: One of the things we’re notoriously afraid of asking for is a pay rise, even when we know we deserve one. Lianna’s advice is simple: “You have to be willing to talk about it. If you think you deserve a pay rise, you should ask for one.” She advocates a two-pronged, methodical and strategic approach:
Firstly, be confident– go into a meeting and say why you deserve your rise by showing your impact on the business – exceeded targets, bringing in new business, customer testimonials.
Then, big yourself up as much as you big your friends up. Imagine you are talking about your friends. We’re always so much more enthusiastic and positive and will raise our friends up to the sky as absolute queens - otherwise we can be a little bit meek.
You may well get your rise, and the worst thing that can happen is a no, which is not the end of the world.
The gender pay gap: This is the difference between the average hourly wages for men and women in the same company. “When you look into the data, it’s much more nuanced because it shows the reason why there’s a pay gap isn’t because of pay equity,” says Lianna, “it’s because there are fewer female workers at senior level, so therefore those positions that pay more, there are fewer women having that pay”. Flexible working to accommodate the needs of working mums, and promoting and developing women for senior roles can close the gap. To see if your company is doing enough about closing the gender pay gap (and it has more than 250 workers) you can search it on the Government Equalities Office website.
Money and personal finances
Dealing with debt: In the UK, there are 8.3 million adults with problem debt and many people are too embarrassed to discuss it. Lianna is reassuring: “Debt is normal, so don’t be fearful of it”. Some debts are even helpful, such as a personal loan for a new kitchen that will increase the value of your home, or one that consolidates all your credit card debts at a lower interest rate.
It’s important to acknowledge debt. “People get into trouble when they ignore it, accumulate it and hope it will go away,” says Lianna. She advocates budgeting as the key to avoiding debt in the first place, and getting out of it. Work out how much money you need each month to pay off your debts and essential living expenses, and if there’s little or none left over, double your efforts to pay the debt, otherwise it will accumulate.
Finally, don’t be ashamed about debt. “Be kind to yourself and recognise that if you do need help there’s a lot of organisations and free helplines out there…but you need to speak up”’ says Lianna.
Pensions: Between debt management and keeping up with living expenses, many people can’t even begin to think about making pension provision. The usual advice is to make paying debts a priority, but it’s slightly different with pensions: the earlier you put some money aside for retirement, the more it will pay dividends in the future: “There are ways to start putting little bits (£10 or £20) away, even if you feel a bit squeezed, that can add up after 30 years,” advises Lianna.
Lending money: We want to help our friends and family out, but is it a good idea to lend them money? “It can go wrong, but that’s doesn’t mean it always goes wrong,” says Lianna, “there needs to be very clear communication, parameters set down, and don’t feel pressured into it. The only way you can help other people is by making sure that you also look after yourself”.
By being able to talk about awkward money matters, you’ll realise you’re not alone. Plenty of people have the same stresses and worries, and there’s lots of help and advice out there. Lianna believes even children should be encouraged to be money-savvy: “It’s never too early to start,” she says.
And while we’re being all open and talking about sensitive subjects, when was the last time you showed your gums some love? Gum disease affects nearly 50% of adults, it can cause bad breath and bleeding gums and if left untreated can lead to receding gums and eventually tooth loss. Two thirds of sufferers ignore this serious problem but Corsodyl toothpaste is here to help. When used twice daily it is clinically proven to help stop and prevent bleeding gums, so get on with it and deal with it. Find out more…