It's Financial Capability Week; what are you doing?

Published: 14 Nov 2016

Catherine RickardCatherine Rickard, Senior Research Fellow

When 40 per cent of adults say they are not in control of their finances and four in ten have less than £500 in savings, it’s quite clear that the UK is facing a financial capability crisis. These figures suggest there is a ‘spend today, rather than save for tomorrow’ culture across the UK population and mean that millions of people are at risk of spiraling into debt and suffering from health problems known to be linked to poor financial wellbeing (stress, anxiety and poor mental health). These consequences of poor financial wellbeing in terms of lower employee productivity and higher levels of absence can be monetised, providing a strong case for employers to provide financial wellbeing support.

The range of actions that organisations can take to improve their employees’ financial wellbeing are highly varied and IES is currently working with the CIPD on producing practical guidance for employers on how they can support their employees’ financial well-being. This guidance is due to be published ahead of Christmas. It illustrates key steps along the journey for organisations to help their employees make better financial decisions, with benefits for organisations and employees alike and offers a menu of options that you may want to consider from starting to develop a financial wellbeing strategy to refining what you are already doing.

This week (14th – 20th November)  is the UK’s first Financial Capability Week, organised under the umbrella of the Financial Capability Strategy for the UK and coordinated by the government-backed Money Advice Service. The campaign is aimed at organisations and policy-makers and has the support of more than 250 organisations.

Throughout the week organisations will be staging events to spread the word about financial capability and what it means either by sharing financial capability information, getting involved in social media discussions or hosting events to showcase their work.

Some ways that your organisation could get involved might be:

  • Reminding your employees of your current reward and benefits offer.
  • Reminding your staff what kind of pension you offer and get them to think about whether they are contributing enough for retirement.
  • Hosting ‘coffee and cake’ or ‘lunch and learn’ events to discuss financial topics such as pensions or flexible benefits
  • Conducting a ‘pulse’ survey to gain an insight into your employees’ current financial well-being and the kind of support they may welcome from you as their employer.

Financial Capability Week was launched today at the Bank of England by Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis, and during the rest of the week there will be a range of events and activities designed to encourage discussion and share best practice.

For more information on Financial Capability Week and for information on how organisations can get involved, go to www.fincap.org.uk and by following @fincapstrategy.

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Any views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Institute as a whole.