14 December 2020
The national Police Federation’s wellbeing lead hopes an online discussion about debt and finances can help members take control of their money.
Hayley Aley hosted a Facebook Live event with Antony Price, partnership development manager at PayPlan, a national service which provides free debt advice.
The 45-minute discussion covered a range of financial issues that could affect members including debt, credit cards, mortgages, benefits, and debt management plans.
It was part of the Federation’s month-long focus on financial wellbeing, and is available to watch now.
Haley said: “The idea of the event is to help anyone out there around any concerns regarding finance and personal debt. This year has been a tough year for everyone. If we can help one person reach out and get some support if their worries about finance and personal debt are starting to affect their wellbeing and their mental health, then it will have been worth it.”
Antony stressed that the service was “100 per cent confidential”.
And he said that talking about your financial concerns can have a positive impact on your mental health.
“85 per cent of clients said being in debt has either added to or caused mental health issue including stress, depression and anxiety,” he said.
“The really good thing is that following on from debt advice, 93 per cent of those clients said getting debt help improved their mental health and their stress reduced.
“95 per cent of them felt more confident to deal with their money matters, and 69 per cent felt they could open up top other people.
“The more that we talk about it the better.”
Antony, who has been with PayPlan for 16 years, said that his number one tip for members who were concerned about their money or about debt, was to talk to someone.
“We’re fully aware people might be sat there worried about picking up the phone, but don’t do nothing” he said, “Take some action, even if it’s a baby step. Do something and you’ll be surprised how better you feel.
“The amount of people who feel that stress is relieved, that sharing that with somebody else really does help them. It’s incredible what a difference that can make.”
Another tip was to “go back to basics” and set out a budget to manage your outgoings against your income.
“Look at ways to minimise your outgoings,” he said. “We’ve probably all been guilty of signing up to different subscriptions since lockdown such as Netflix and Amazon. But how long have you not been using it? Is there anything you can cutback to help regain that control again?”
He added: “Go back to basics, to pen and paper or a spreadsheet and put together your financial planner, your budget. Most people who approach us for debt help have never done that before until they reach out to us for help.
“The more you can feel confident about your household affairs, the more you can plan ahead for the future. There will be things you might look at and think I can cut that back, or I can make decisions because I’m happy to forego that in order to plan for my future.
“It also helps you to understand those expenses you don’t think about on a monthly basis.That might be a haircut, it might be a daily coffee. When you add it up it might shock you to know how much you’re spending on those things and how that could have a positive impact to the amount you could put away for retirement, for example, if you were to change those lifestyle choices.”