More than 1million Londoners have less than £100 in savings, according to research from MaPS, the Money and Pensions Service.
This week, November 7 to 11, is Talk Money Week, “an opportunity for everyone to get involved with events and activities which help people have more open conversations about their money”, according to MaPS.
Their survey found that 11per cent have nothing put away and another 9per cent have £100 or less in savings.
“This leaves one-fifth of Londoners living without a financial safety net to cope with the rising cost of living or unexpected bills,” statutory body MaPS says, “meaning some may have to use credit.”
After more than a decade of historically low interest rates, the cost of mortgages and other borrowing is rising sharply, making the cost of credit increasingly expensive.
MaPS says although credit is an important tool when used and managed well, it’s crucial that people understand what they can afford and have a plan to pay it off.
The survey found that many people are already finding this difficult. Among the 77per cent of London residents who use credit, more than half of them (53per cent) are now anxious about how much they owe.
As cost of living pressures start to hit home, MaPS says it’s more important than ever to talk about money before problems set in. However, the survey also reveals that 74per cent of people still avoid discussing their finances. The most common reasons were “shame or embarrassment” (18per cent), “fear of burdening others” (17per cent) and “not wanting to be judged” (16per cent).
During Talk Money Week, MaPS is encouraging everyone to open up about money, plan for their financial future and access free debt advice as soon as they need it.
The organisation says its MoneyHelper service can be people’s first port of call, offering free guidance on topics like everyday money, savings and where to find free debt advice.
It also provides a range of information on dealing with money issues, including step-by-step guides on how to talk to your creditors or discuss money with family and friends.
“More than a million people across London find it a challenge to save and this leaves them vulnerable when sudden expenditure items arise,” said Caroline Siarkiewicz, MaPS’s chief executive. “When you add in the anxiety that they feel with their credit commitments, the weight of that worry can quickly become overwhelming.
“This Talk Money Week, we want everyone to start the conversation with family or friends and share the burden of any money worries. By dealing with the problem head on, people can discover just how helpful free debt advice can be and see the importance of talking to their creditors early. They can also begin to find a way forward, no matter how difficult their situation might feel.
“Free help and guidance on how to do all of this is available via our MoneyHelper service and I’d urge everyone who needs it to get in touch today.”
More information about Talk Money Week is available at https://maps.org.uk/talk-money-week/.
For further information about the services and assistance offered by MaPS, visit www.maps.org.uk.
The public can get free guidance about their money and pensions at www.moneyhelper.org.uk or by phoning 0800 138 7777.
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