Helping your members be better at managing their finances

Howard Gannaway

Talking about your personal finances – or someone else’s – used to be a no-go area and there are still plenty of people who find it difficult to discuss this topic with others, even with their ‘significant other’! Many people worry about whether they are managing their money effectively. This can lead to embarrassment at talking to others about it and can lead to people “suffering in silence.”

The Everyday finances SkillCheck quiz has been created to help ULRs open that door sensitively for their members. First, it gives you an easy way to broach the subject without actually talking about an individual’s finances – just suggesting that they might like to have a go at a quiz. Second, it covers a wide range of personal finance issues in an approachable way that should provide a talking point for everyone who tackles the quiz. Then it also enables the ULR to signpost members to further information, if they have taken the quiz and are interested in learning more.

Why are people’s personal finances important to the workplace? Quite simply, struggling with money can lead to stress, which is quite often brought to work. To put it bluntly, would you want a workmate to be handling a forklift truck near you if their mind was distracted by the worry that the bailiffs might be at their home taking out their furniture?

The good news is that, for most people, improving how they manage their finances is not something that takes years to learn. It’s more a case of taking on board new information and putting it into action. Of course, it can take a while to break old habits and having someone to support them along the way can make a real difference. 

Employers are also increasingly taking an interest in personal finance as a wellbeing issue. In the forklift scenario above, you can imagine that the employer would be just as keen to avoid this as would the workmates! Some employers are bringing in opportunities for employees to learn more, while some are introducing innovative ways to help their staff manage their borrowing. So, this may be a conversation for ULRs to open up with employers as well as colleagues.

Unionlearn has been actively interested in this field for over ten years and you will be helping to move this forward by encouraging all your members to take the Everyday finances quiz with SkillCheck.

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Howard Gannaway

Howard Gannaway is a Senior Associate of the Learning and Work Institute and has contributed to their research and policy work on personal finance for over 15 years.  He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment and also holds the internationally recognised Certified Financial PlannerTM qualification.  His work in practice as a financial planner has brought him into contact with people from all walks of life.  He is an occasional lecturer on personal finance matters at the University of Lincoln.  Howard’s father was an FOC with NATSOPA and Howard still treasures – and uses – the copy of Walter Citrine’s ‘ABC of Chairmanship’ that he was given as a teenager by his father.