Money can be a difficult topic for many people, and such conversations are proving even more difficult during these uncertain times. The other day I stumbled across some information generated by YouGov which suggested that The Martin Lewis Money Show has become the 14th most popular contemporary TV programme and the 139th most famous of all-time. In a quick disclaimer I’m not sure how up to date this information is or how this was put together but if true this is quite some achievement. I also thought it was interesting to see that it was straddled by Have I Got News For You and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, but maybe that’s just me.
To see such a show regularly topping the ratings on its particular timeslot highlights just how much attention people are now paying to their own financial matters and the increased appetite for successful money management. The increased accessibility of technology has played a large role within this and there are a wealth of resources, information and tools which can be found online. As is also the case for businesses and the intermediary community.
Gathering relevant information and successfully analysing a client’s financial situation has always been one of the most time-consuming aspects for an adviser. Fortunately, technology – and solutions such as Credit Access – is helping advisers and their clients to bridge this financial information gap and offer easier access to, and better control over, financial information. Although there are many ongoing challenges to overcome, especially when it comes to their credit needs, status and ongoing complexities around incomes in the current climate.
This was evident in new findings from Shawbrook Bank’s personal loan division which discovered that 39% of UK adults are concerned about maintaining their current credit arrangements. The research also revealed that 64% of people who have suffered a loss of income in 2020 are worried about being unable to pay a large, unexpected bill. By contrast, the findings also showed that 32% of respondents surveyed said their savings had increased since the UK first went into lockdown in March 2020, with the majority (77%) of these people indicating they plan to spend the money in the next year.
Shawbrook’s research, based on responses from 2,000 people, showed that 24% said reduced outgoings have had a “significant positive impact” on their finances, with more than one in five (21%) using 2020 as a chance to pay down their debts. However, Shawbrook suggested the squeeze on household finances is continuing for many other families, with 25% of those surveyed saying they are currently in a financially weaker position than they were before March 2020, and a further 22% not expecting to be any better off by the end of 2021. 22% of respondents have also seen what they owe rise this year while 28% plan to borrow over the next 12 months. The research found credit cards to be the most likely form of borrowing (13%), followed by personal loans (8%) and mortgages (7%).
This data helps outline how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected a range of consumers both in a negative and positive way. These swings can make it difficult for advisers to maintain a fully up-to-date view of their client’s financial circumstances and we all know how difficult and time-consuming it can be to extract this valuable information from them. Building this full financial picture is only going to get more complex in 2021. While programmes like The Martin Lewis Money Show will help get people on the right track, advisers who embrace technology remain in the prime position to ensure they are best placed to support their clients’ short, medium and long-term financial futures.
David Jones is director of Click2Check