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It’s good to talk - at any age

Posted 29 November 2018

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Feeling on top of our finances is good for our wellbeing. This is true for everyone - but it’s increasingly important so as we get older.

New research for Age UK has found that a third of over-65s say they feel calmer and happier, and worry less, as a result of feeling in control.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. The research found that one in six over-65s were struggling to get by - and that one in six had no-one to talk to about money.

We often think of older people as very debt-averse, and problem debt as something that mostly affects younger people. But that’s becoming less and less true. A few years back, Age UK found around one in eight older people had experienced problem debt in the preceding eight years. For this group, problem debt often developed quickly, in many cases as a result of unemployment or a drop in income. Older people in problem debt often experienced a decreased quality of life; even depression. There was also some evidence of a link with relationship breakdown.

What’s more, not all older people are claiming the benefits that could help them get by. This is particularly worrying at this time of year. If you’re eligible for Winter Fuel Payments, Cold Weather Payments or the Warm Home Discount, they could make a huge difference to your winter finances. But almost half of low-income households don’t claim the help they’re entitled to.

We’ve worked with EntitledTo to create a free, easy-to-use benefits calculator to help you check if you could get additional help. Just fill in a few details about your circumstances. The calculator tailors results for you. It’s quick, simple and definitely worth it.

If you or someone you know is really struggling, there’s extra help available for people forced to choose between heating and eating. Contact Simple Energy Advice in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, or Home Energy Scotland.

And if you or someone you know is struggling with problem debt, at any age - talk about it! Talk to friends, talk to family, talk to us. However bad you think your debts are, there is always a solution. You can see what options may be suitable for you here. Alternatively, Age UK provides a wide range of expert information, available free of charge from its advice line or website.

by Christine Walsh

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.