QSA's Made of Money manager Simon Phillips responds to The Money & Pensions Service's UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing 2020–2030
Quaker Social Action was pleased to see that The Money & Pensions Service (MaPS) published its UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing. The themes identified chime with our own experience of delivering financial wellbeing programmes with people on low incomes in east London and other locations, and of training other frontline staff from across the country.
We support the main goals of the strategy regarding financial behaviour: develop a savings habit; manage credit effectively; take advantage of debt advice available; and plan for the future. We agree that these are key areas to improve a person’s financial wellbeing and build financial resilience i.e. the ability to be able to weather unexpected costs.
For us, this resilience comes from recognising that each person has a unique relationship with money, which informs how they get it and what they do with it. A relationship that is based on a number of factors including: our childhood experiences, our culture and beliefs, our need for security or status and the pressures from society and consumerism.
Each person builds their own body of experiences, skills and knowledge about money. These influence their behaviour. It’s important to think critically about those influences and whether they help or hinder financial decisions. This personal approach brings more control and confidence to see through changes, leading to greater resilience.
Our early experiences of money have a major impact on our financial wellbeing, and we are pleased to see that MaPS’ strategy highlights the need for good financial foundations. Children learn through instruction, observation and trying things out. To support their children, parents require confidence in their own skills to model good financial behaviour and know when and how to talk to their children about money. Here at QSA, our Made of Money team runs courses that bring parents together to discuss and share their experiences and the emotions involved in building those financial foundations.
Many financial wellbeing interventions focus on what the individual can do to change their life; but the financial industry also has a role to play. Therefore we were very pleased to see that MaPS is looking to influence the wider system and involve those providing financial services and products.
The experts in managing money on a low income are people on low incomes. It would be good to see financial institutions working with them to co-design and deliver services and products that suit their needs. Services that recognise the difficulty of getting affordable credit, the inconsistency of income and have the flexibility to allow people to deal with small financial shocks that can have a devastating effect when money is tight.
If you’d like to know more about Made of Money and our approach to financial wellbeing, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8983 5043.