A north Northumberland debt-counselling agency is urging residents to start talking about their finances early in 2016.
Christians Against Poverty (CAP) says having ‘the money conversation’ with a partner can be one of the hardest things to do, but it is a move that can really change your year ahead.
Chris Friend, centre manager of the Alnwick CAP branch, said: “I see people who have fallen into crisis debt every week and I can tell you it is crucial for your health and happiness in 2016 that you have a reality check of your finances as soon as you can in this new year.
“It might be nerve-wracking to bring those bank statements out into the open, but until you both know what’s happening, you can’t start to tackle it.
“Working at your finances together, setting goals together and resolving to sort things can be an amazing step forward for the whole family.”
The Money Advice Service found in a poll of more than 2,000 UK adults that nearly half weren’t always honest with their partner about finances, while a quarter were lying about spending.
CAP’s latest research shows three in four debt clients said their situation had caused arguments, while nearly a quarter said debt directly led to their relationship breaking down.
CAP’s top tips include: Pick your time to have the money conversation when things are quiet at home and no one is dealing with any immediate stresses;
○ Agree that you want to make it a year when you get on top of finances together;
○ Acknowledge that money management can be hard and remember your attitudes to money might be different;
○ Decide on a shared goal you want to aim for;
○ Use one of the many online tools, or book into one of the free CAP Money Courses, to begin to build your budget;
○ Don’t delay in getting help from a free debt-counselling agency like CAP, Stepchange, National Debtline, Citizens Advice, Payplan, the Money Advice Service or, if self-employed, Business Debtline;
○ Review how it’s going on pay day and make budget adjustments where necessary;
○ Avoid credit wherever possible and begin to save as soon as you can.
For details, visit capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006.