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Money wellness

Money. It’s important. It makes life possible, which is why it can be one of the greatest sources of anxiety – we know we need to deal with it, but we don’t always know where to start.

We want to change this.

At first direct we’ve always been committed to helping our customers feel more confident with money. With less of our customers saying they feel anxious about money than those that bank with most other major UK banks, we think we’re on the right track but the journey has only just begun. This year our ambition is to do more, we want not only our customers but people across the UK to have a healthier relationship with money. Because we can never feel truly well until we feel financially well.

As a nation we’re investing in our wellbeing in so many aspects of our lives; noticing the things that make us feel bad and making positive changes for the better. It’s time for us to do the same with money.

So what have we been doing?

  • first direct was built around its customers. We have spent 30 years working to support them in feeling confident about their money. We believe this is a key part of having positive Financial Wellbeing. It is this people first approach that has made us the number one brand for customer service in the UK – not just in banking, but across every sector*.
  • 42% of people state they would feel better if they could speak to a real human being at their bank. When you ring first direct, there are no menus to navigate or buttons to press. You will always be able to talk to a real person here in the UK, 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
  • money wellness is an issue that spans income groups, age and other demographics but the impacts hit the most vulnerable hardest. That's why in 2019 we rolled out industry leading training across the business so our people can identify and positively support financially vulnerable people. This has been a crucial first step in allowing us to help to address financial wellbeing. This now includes a core team available to take care of customers that we’ve identified as being acutely vulnerable.
  • we believe that change starts at home, so we have been busy rolling out a meaningful program of wellness to all our employees. That spans across their physical, mental and financial wellbeing.
  • through our partnership with Mind we have been training our staff and now have qualified Mental Health First Aiders throughout the business.






Define money wellness

  • Money is a wellness issue

  • What’s next?

    For us to be able to truly tackle the issue of financial wellbeing and to challenge the relationship people have with their finances we knew we needed to understand how people across the UK really feel about their money. To explore this, we commissioned the first-ever measurement of the state of the nation’s relationship with money. We worked with YouGov to interview 4,000 adults from across the UK. This research resulted in the creation of our very own Money Wellness Index which we are using to inform how we can help to deliver money wellness for our customers.

    We plan to update the index annually giving us a regular opportunity to understand how both our customers and the nation are feeling about money so we can ensure that we are best positioned to support financial wellbeing both now and in the future.

    Based on the survey data, almost half of UK adults aged 18-55 (49%) admit they would feel better if they realised others felt the same way as they did. So, as we use the Index to better understand how people are feeling about money, our Money Wellness Revolution campaign begins to highlight and normalise the issue of financial wellbeing as the first step in all of us being able to 'Money Well'. We hope by sharing our own and other people’s stories, we can begin to challenge the beliefs that hold us back and get people to question the impact their own relationship with money has on their wellbeing.

    We ultimately want to go further, by also helping to create solutions to the challenges that impact our financial wellbeing. As part of this, we will be looking at our products and services.

    A few highlights from the report.

    The nation’s current mean money wellness score is 47 out of 100 which shows a slight underlying sense of negativity and uncertainty when it comes to how we feel about money. Positively, people are recognising that how they feel about money is critical to their overall wellbeing, however, many still focus more on other areas of personal wellbeing rather than financial wellbeing. Financial wellness remains generally unaddressed by the wellness industry, which is set to top £21 billion in 2020.

    • 38% of us feel stressed out when we think about money
    • brits are significantly more likely to prioritise mindfulness and meditation for their overall wellbeing than they are to take action on their financial wellbeing
    • worrying about money is a widespread issue – crossing all age groups, life stages, demographics and income brackets. Social media is making us feel worse about our money, which is even more prevalent among younger people (up to 45% of 18-34 year olds)
    • 2 in 5 (40%) Brits admitted that they would feel better if they realised others felt the same way as they did
    • overall, first direct customers report less stress or anxiety about money than customers at most other major UK banks, but regardless, very few people are likely to turn to their bank with financial worries (just 1 in 8).

    Read the full report here.

    *Awarded 2019 - Checkmyfile.com - Best bank for customer service, UKCSI #1 overall best bank for customer service and Which? Best brand for customer service.