How to cope with economic uncertainty in the face of Brexit
We live in uncertain times – are you prepared?
No one knows exactly what’s going to happen with Brexit. Hard? Soft? Deal? No Deal? Revoke and remain? Among the many concerns around the UK leaving the European Union, economic uncertainty is at the forefront. Even aside from Brexit, many experts think that some sort of economic downturn is around the corner.
Any uncertainty or a stuttering economy inevitably has a knock-on impact on your wallet and finances. As we saw with the 2008 financial crisis, it doesn't take long for our worlds to be turned upside down.
Many of us are able to juggle our expenses and living costs when the going is good. It’s fine to pay off your credit cards, make your mortgage payments or even splurge a bit when you’re in work and pulling in a pay cheque every month. But for many of us, a financial shock – redundancy, a reduction in hours or even ill health for you or a member of your family – would be enough to send us spiralling into financial difficulties.
With economic storm clouds gathering, it’s vital that we get to grips with our finances. As the old saying goes though, many of us are still living pay cheque to pay cheque.
StepChange Debt Charity, the leading free and impartial debt charity in the UK, says that there are more than three million people struggling with severe problem debt, and nearly 10 million more are showing signs of financial distress.
What’s more, almost one in three Brits (29%) expect their finances to get worse in the next year, while only 14% believe their financial situation will improve, according to a new YouGov poll for the charity.
If you’re one of those worried that things might be difficult in 2020 – or even if you haven’t ever thought about it – it might not always feel particularly easy to get to grips with your finances or ask for help.
Brits are traditionally uncomfortable talking about money, and the stiff upper lip means sometimes we suffer in silence. Nearly two in five respondents to the StepChange poll said they’d try to deal with their financial difficulties in private without getting any support. But it doesn’t have to be that way. And there are some simple things you can do to get on top of things now.
Putting a budget together is a great place to start. It’s the first step towards taking control of your finances and getting your situation back on track. A budget can help you see where your money is going, make sure you’ve covered everything you need to pay, and help you spot areas where you can make savings.
StepChange can help you put together a personal action plan, and talk you through each stage of putting a budget together, helping you prioritise your living expenses.
There’s also a week-long email programme - 7 Days, 7 Ways - which can teach you how to master your finances, boost your income and stay on top of your most important bills. Each day for a week you’ll get an email linking to practical advice to help you with your finances.
Ultimately, if you do find yourself struggling with debt, StepChange offer a wide range of solutions, from Debt Management Plans, IVAs, Debt relief orders, bankruptcy and more.
There are just too many unknowns to say exactly what will happen with the economy over the coming months and years, and none of us truly know what might be round the corner in terms of the things that might happen to us.
But what’s certain is that the best insurance policy against future risks is preparation. And getting ahead of the game early will put you in the best possible position to cope financially with whatever’s on the horizon.
Get free, personalised debt advice. Day or night, online 24/7 at www.stepchange.org