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Major plan launched to overhaul nation’s financial wellbeing

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
21/01/2020
A new government-backed body has today published its 10-year strategy to transform the nation’s financial wellbeing, helping people make the most of their money and pensions.

The UK strategy for financial wellbeing sets out goals to be achieved by 2030 which should improve the lives of millions of people.

Launched by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), it said financial wellbeing is about feeling secure and in control, such as having money to pay bills today, deal with the unexpected tomorrow and being on track for a healthy future.

The financial guidance body has set out five ‘agendas for change’, including:

  • Eight million children and young people to get a meaningful financial education
  • Seven million struggling and squeezed working age people to save regularly
  • Two million fewer people often using credit to pay for food or bills
  • Better debt advice for two million people – currently only 32% of those in need get advice
  • Six million people understanding enough to plan for their later lives.

The strategy will also look at mental health and gender which can make people more susceptible to financial detriment.

It comes as MaPs said more than 11 million people have less than £100 in savings to fall back on and nine million people often use credit to pay for food and essential bills.

More than 20 million people also don’t know enough to plan for their retirement and five million children aren’t getting a proper financial education.

All these factors have a knock-on effect for the UK’s mental health as well as physical health and relationships. Those with good financial wellbeing are more productive at work, and businesses also benefit when people keep up with bills and payments, it said.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, acting chief executive of MaPs, said: “Financial wellbeing underpins personal health and happiness but it doesn’t happen by change. We’re launching a strategy for entire lifetimes, aiming to expand financial education for children while ensuring everyone is equipped to plan for and enjoy their retirement.

“MaPS will be the catalyst for a financial wellbeing movement, transforming how people engage with their money and pensions. We have a decade to make a difference and we cannot achieve change alone, so we will be connecting companies, charities and other organisation which share our vision, to make this happen.”

Helen Undy, chief executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said: “People with mental health problems are more than three times as likely to be in debt, debt which in turn can devastate our mental health. We’ve long called for mental health to be central to efforts to improve the nation’s financial wellbeing, and we’re delighted to see the new strategy reflect that today.

“We also welcome the pledge to help two million more people access debt support by 2030, which should hopefully ensure that more people affected by money and mental health problems can get the support they need.”

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