Financial Wellbeing Research
How do you feel about your money?
For most students, university is the first time you move out and have a sense of independence. It's a right-of-passage to adulthood. However, with this (unfortunately) comes with more responsibility - which includes the dreaded responsibility of managing your own money. For some who are lucky, they have been taught how to do so properly and money never becomes an issue throughout their university life. For others, it can be a struggle as you figure your way through balancing a good social life, your studies, and planning for your future.
Studying at university represents a high-risk time for issues with mental health. Not only does University coincide with the mean age of onset for many mental health problems, but it also presents a time of new pressures where various other factors can impact mental wellbeing.
Based on a study conducted in 2018 by Blackbullion in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, when asked, 95% of students admitted they felt stressed by their financial situation, with 45% stating they felt stressed either often orevery day. 67% felt that their financial situation negatively impact their degree. 50% students worry that they will not have enough money for necessities (e.g. food, toiletries, etc.).
Infographic and information taken from https://www.blackbullion.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Money-and-Mental-Health-Sheffield-Hallam-and-Blackbullion-Student-Survey.pdf)
Financial difficulty is one factor which has consistently been shown to predict poor mental health amongst students. A study titled “Student debt and its relation to student mental health” followed students for 3 years and found that those with a high level of concern about their finances had a greater deterioration in mental health. Another 2-year study found that financial difficulties in students increased risk of eating disorder. Other studies have shown that concerns with money, impact on academic performance and risk of dropping out.
Now, DON'T PANIC! Know that you are not alone!
What are we doing to tackle this problem?
What can YOU do to help yourself?
We recognise that money issues can be a big burden to a student's life and King's is here to support you!
King's provide help for students with money problems through the role of the advice services. If you are in need of a specialist help, there are drop-in sessions where you can speak to money advisors on how to manage your money.
Additionally, there is the wellbeing team that run wellbeing events, counselling sessions that might be helpful in managing your stress and overall mental wellbeing. They also have the Wellbeing Toolbox which are full of resources in order to help you manage your own mental health!
- Be aware of your behaviour
- Sometime's you are not aware of your spending habits. Take some time to reflect on when do you tend to spend your money most and why (e.g. is it related to your emotions, etc.)
- What aspect of money makes you feel worse? (e.g. is it talking about money with other people? is it opening your bills?, etc)
This allows you to understand yourself better.
- Get organised
- Make it a habit to check your bank statements regularly - not only do you keep track of your spending, you also become less anxious when you do check it because it has become part of your routine!
- Put all your important records and statements (bank statements, bills, etc.) in one accessible place.
- Start a budget
- Set up a separate bank account just for savings/ just for bills.
- Try only using cash for the week and taking the money out only once a week to reduce your chance of spending more than you planned.
- Seek help
Now we are not all trained accountants or a superhero, so we do have to acknowledge that we might need help sometimes. If you really have no idea how to start, ask someone that does.
It doesn't have to be a money specialist (though King's have drop-in sessions for those who wish), it can be your friends or family members that are a little money savvy - they can give you valuable tips!
In case you do want to seek a professional help, these tips might be handy:
- Prepare a set of questions you want to ask (if you want to)
- Get all your paperwork ready (e.g. bank statements, list of expenditure, etc.)
- Ask a friend/ family to come with you for moral support (we are never too old to need a moral support for something important)
- Take care of yourself!
Money worries can have a lot of impact on other aspect of your life and can affect your mood severely. It is important to remember (as hard as it might be) to be kind to yourself!
Here are some aspect of your life you can improve on to improve your mood and make money management just a little bit better: