Cost of Living Part 2 – How affected are employees?

Cost of Living Part 2 – How affected are employees?


Mental health / Financial health

Against the backdrop of soaring inflation and global instability, many employees are struggling to meet their day-to day financial needs. One in four full-time employees are now working extra jobs according to PwC, and more than half admit to being stressed about their daily finances.

Despite the progress that’s been made in recent years to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace, and help employees open-up about their struggles, the vast majority of workers are still very reluctant to discuss money worries. With the reasons ranging from feelings of shame, fear of discrimination, a lack of trust, and uncertanty about who to turn to.

According to research by YuLife in conjunction with YouGov, 80% of employees say that financial stress can directly impact their performance at work.

The report also found that a similar number are currently worried in general about their financial wellbeing, and 57% of employees expect their concerns to increase as the Cost of Living increases.

Around half felt that it was their company’s responsibility to help with their personal finances. However, only one in five said they would feel comfortable discussing financial matters with their employer.

Nearly one in three employees say that access to an unbiased financial expert is the company benefit they would value above anything else. PwC

Fears over debt

As the Cost of Living continues to skyrocket, experts are now warning of a spike in cases where people are unable to cover their debt repayments. Indeed, debt charities such as StepChange are urging people who are struggling with existing debts to come to fresh arrangements with their creditors on how much to repay each month.

The Cost of Living is rising at the fastest rate for 30 years, and this means that some of us who were previously keeping up with debt repayments are now finding it a lot more difficult.

The head of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has said that the Cost of Living crisis “poses a threat of pandemic proportions” to the nation.

Sue Anderson, from StepChange, has revealed that during the pandemic they saw an increase in the number of people who were unable to meet their planned payments on managed debt solutions, and it now looks as if they are going to see a resurgence of this as a result of dramatic increases in the Cost of Living.

Among the people that Stepchange supports, nearly twice as many people said in March that rising inflation was a key reason for getting into debt compared with six months earlier, and it was the third most frequent reason given, behind a lack of control over finances, and redundancy.

Furthermore, official figures are showing that nearly one in five of us are borrowing more than we did a year ago, and half of us don’t think we’ll be able to save any money in the next 12 months.


Buy now pay later / Early wage access

The news of escalating debt problems comes at a time when Apple, Paypal, and Monzo have joined Klarna recently, by announcing a ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) service.

Many industry bodies are sounding the alarm bell about the rise in popularity of BNPL options, which are currently unregulated in the UK, and of Early Wage Access services where employees can access their salary before payday. Criticising them for encouraging poor financial management, overspending, and for being a gateway to significant debt problems.

One in four employees who are financially stressed feel embarrassed to ask for help because of shame over their amount of debt. PwC

Young shoppers are being enticed by these flexible payment options and early access to their earnings, but Citizens Advice says that such new products mean it’s now easier than ever to get into difficulties with debt. According to the charity, over half of those aged 18 to 34  have been forced to use different types of credit – such as credit cards – to cover the repayments that are required for BNPL purchases.

Citizens Advice has said that BNPL can be like quicksand – easy to get into, but difficult to get out of, and has suggested that such schemes encourage people into debt.

Some 17 million people in the UK have used a BNPL offer. This includes 30% of those in their 20s. And while popular, the increase in availability of these products has led to concerns about the overall level of debt among consumers in the UK, particularly while budgets are being squeezed by inflation.


A short term problem?

The Bank of England predicted earlier this year that inflation would hit 8% and continue to rise throughout 2022 to 10%. However, at the time of writing, it stands at 9% and some experts are predicting that the rate of inflation will exceed 12% by the end of the year.

Policymakers are insisting that the causes for this high rate of inflation will not continue indefinitely, and that it is unlikely for the prices of energy and imported goods to continue to rise as rapidly in 2023. However, that is not to say that things will start getting any cheaper for UK citizens, but that they will continue to get even more expensive, just at a slower rate than they are at the moment.

If these predictions comes to pass then it means that the rate of inflation will decline, and the Bank of England have said that they are expecting it to fall back to their target of 2% in 3 years time, but even if that estimate does prove to be accurate, the question is how can employees weather the storm that is with us now without the right support and coaching?

45% of those aged 18-24 have suffered mental health problems as a result of money worries.  Close Brothers


What can be done to help?

The truth is, money is still a taboo subject, and with the Cost of Living becoming a crisis for tens of millions of ordinary workers, and lasting for many years to come, starting the conversation around financial wellbeing has never been more important.

Research has shown that only 14% of UK employees are comfortable talking openly about money, so providing Lunch & Learn workshops and support talks can significantly reduce the stigma around financial matters, and work wonders for dealing with stress in the workplace.

Building a culture where employees trust that their employer has their best interests at heart, feel more open to discuss financial topics, and have access to confidential support, is the ultimate aim for any financial wellbeing strategy, but it also needs to deliver good engagement.

A helpful way to achieve this is to use a framework that covers the most important aspects. For this, you might want to consider the following:

  • Engaging ask your team what they want help with.

  • Understanding define their needs, and be clear on any underlying issues that are in play.

  • Evaluating – find the best financial wellbeing solution for your company to provide effective support.

  • Executing – rollout in a simple way with clear ongoing communications with your employees.

Showing your team that you’re there for them

Along with the likes of HelloFresh and Beam, many companies in the UK and beyond are benefitting from Bippit’s all-in-one professional coaching and financial wellbeing platform.

Want to provide immediate support for you team’s financial health? Book a free Financial Wellbeing Lunch & Learn for your workplace.


Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

Cost of Living Part 1 – The situation right now

Cost of Living Part 1 – The situation right now


The impact of inflation on employees

Financial wellbeing means having the confidence to manage our finances effectively, and deal with bumps in the road. However, the bumps are now bigger than ever, and employees are under increasing pressure.

The reality of our society, is that very few of us talk about our finances, whether it be with colleagues, friends, or in some cases, even with family. And very few of us have access to any kind of professional support.

So instead, most of us try to deal with our financial situation, and the emotions we have around money, on our own. Often this means sitting in silence, feeling stressed about the present, and anxious about the future.

Inflation and the Cost of Living is starting to take its toll, and 9/10 employees say that they want help from an expert. Under this storm cloud of soaring costs for energy, fuel, and essentials, financial support for employees has quickly become a critical business issue.

  • 90%  of younger workers say that their mental health has been affected by the Cost of Living 

  • 57%  of employees have had to change their long term financial plans

  • Only 1/3  employees have an emergency fund to deal with the challenges ahead

Surging energy prices

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has now announced a support package to help the UK deal with soaring energy bills through the winter and into 2023. Part of these plans mean that all UK households will receive a grant of £400 to reduce their energy bills from October this year.

The chancellor previously offered a £200 loan which would be paid back in instalments over five years, but now that figure has been doubled and there is no requirement to repay the sum, so all energy bills will be reduced by £400 in October 2022.

A further £650 payment will be made to more than 8 million low-income households who receive Universal Credit, tax credits, pension credits, or other means-tested benefits, and this will be an automatic payment into bank accounts. For these extra payments, they will come in two installments, with the first in July and the second sometime in the autumn.

However, even with this additional support from the government, most households are still expected to be out of pocket by £1,000 this year from increases in their energy costs alone.

The chancellor is raising money for this Cost of Living support with a new short term tax for the big oil companies like BP and Shell, but many critics are saying that the support packages do not go far enough, and that significantly more support is needed over the coming years.


Cutting back on essentials, and increased travel costs

Aside from soaring energy bills, the average food bill is expected to increase by ~£380 a year in 2022, with grocery prices 6% higher in April than a year ago. This is starting to show in our consumer behavior, with many of us in the UK turning to discount retailers such as Aldi and Lidl as pressures on our household budgets increase.

Supply chain issues and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are all contributing to skyrocketing food prices, and businesses everywhere are passing their higher costs on to customers.

To add to these concerns, petrol prices have hit new record highs every single day throughout May 2022, with the cost to fill a family car at the time of writing now standing at £103 for petrol, and £106 for diesel. This news has compounded the UK’s struggles with the soaring Cost of Living, and many households are now cutting back on food and car journeys to save money.

The government attempted to tackle rising petrol costs by cutting the fuel tax in March 2022 by 5p per litre. However, this cut has not been passed on fully to consumers, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has now been asked to investigate.

“I’ve been the Money Saving Expert for over 20 years. I’ve been through the financial crash, I’ve been through Covid. This is the worst… where we are right now.” Martin Lewis


Shrinking pay packets

To make matters worse, higher taxes have also arrived for employees this year, meaning that most workers are receiving less in their paypacket.

This hotly-debated rise of 1.25% means that employees and businesses must pay more National Insurance on a monthly basis. The government has said that the increase was necessary to cover the costs of health and social care, but critics have questioned why additional tax revenue could not have been generated elsewhere.

Now, instead of paying National Insurance contributions of 12% on earnings up to £50,270 and 2% on anything above that, employees pay 13.25% and 3.25% respectively.

Opposition MPs have said that the changes are exacerbating the current Cost of Living pressures, and have arrived while income tax bands are being frozen, which is expected to increase the chances of employees being dragged into a new tax band with a higher rate from any pay rise they might receive.

81% of Millennials are more likely to be attracted to another company that cares more about their financial wellbeing. PwC


Spiralling inflation

The problem right now is that the exceptionally high rate of inflation we’re experiencing in 2022 will get worse before it gets better, and some experts are now suggesting that inflation could reach more than 12% over the coming winter.

This surge is causing a lot of anxiety and leading to significant changes in the way we live our lives. Even simple levers, like shopping around for a better energy deal have evaporated, and instead, ordinary workers are having to tighten the purse strings in every conceivable way to weather the Cost of Living storm.

In a recent survey from the BBC, two-thirds of people in the UK believed that the government support provided so far was insufficient, and with a desperate lack of financial education in schools, young adults are especially unprepared for what lies ahead.

According to research from PwC, only 24% of Millenials are able to demonstrate basic financial knowledge, with high financial literacy observed with only 8%.

More worrying still, is that high inflation is expected to last for three more years according to the Bank of England, or even longer as suggested to some experts.

Only 1 in 4 Millennials are able to demonstrate basic financial knowledge. PwC

What does it all mean?

The bottom line is that unless employees have the right support in the coming years,to manage their spending better, build more sustainable habits, and generate more financial security, then there is a significant risk to their financial future.

Along with the likes of HelloFresh and Beam, many companies in the UK and beyond are benefitting from Bippit’s all-in-one professional coaching and financial wellbeing platform.

Want to improve your team’s financial health? Book a free Financial Wellbeing Lunch & Learn for your workplace.


Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

How Bippit helps EPIC reaffirm their company values

How Bippit helps EPIC reaffirm their company values

How Bippit helps EPIC reafirm their company values

EPIC Risk Management specialises in the prevention of harm from gambling, through accredited training, education, and awareness raising. Their team combines first-hand experience of gambling-related harm with expert advice on how it can be prevented.

Given the nature of EPIC’s business – and the fact that 40% of their staff have their own lived-experience with the effects of gambling – giving staff access to financial support is incredibly important to the company. Pippa Robson, Program Manager at EPIC, explains:

“Financial wellbeing is a significant part of our wellbeing strategy, and across the company we can see a real need for it.

“We want to help our people. They’ve rebuilt their lives after financial issues, but even when you recover from an addiction like gambling it still stays with you. You need to consistently manage your life, and as an employer we want to do everything we can to support that.”

Turning to Bippit for coaching and support…

Bippit’s financial wellbeing platform allows companies to give their employees one-to-one access to an expert financial coach. Someone who is professionally qualified, and who they can speak to whenever they want, in a safe confidential space. This is what attracted EPIC to the service.

Pippa says: “Bippit’s biggest selling point was the individual financial coaching every employee gets.

“You can have a conversation with a real human being, not just an automated app that’s going to answer your questions based on a load of data. Bippit’s human conversation is so much more valuable.

“When we saw Bippit’s rounded approach to financial support, we saw a platform that everyone in our company could use. We’ve got quite a varied age range. Some employees are just out of uni and want to buy a house. Others are looking to go part-time or thinking more about pensions.

“With Bippit you can choose what you want to do and customise the platform to your goals. You might want to create a nest egg, save for a holiday, or get ready for retirement. Bippit covers all routes and all stages of life.”


Working to reduce stress and increase engagement

Research has shown that employees are twice as likely to leave an organisation when they’re anxious about their finances. Bippit’s financial coaches and support system can deal with that stress so that employees feel more settled in their job. 

Furthermore, when a company adopts Bippit, it shows employees that they care about their health and wellbeing.

Pippa adds: “We want to help reduce people’s stress levels and make them more productive, but mainly we just want to help them plan for their future.”

“People are at the heart of everything we do. It’s one of our core values, and adopting Bippit reaffirms to everybody working here that we take that value seriously.”


The benefits of 360-degree financial wellbeing

According to PwC, 81% of young employees want to work for a company that cares about their financial wellbeing, and tools like Bippit have become a company’s secret weapon in dealing with the so-called Great Resignation.

Pippa explains: “Bippit will help us with staff retention and attracting the best talent because it’s an amazing benefit to offer. The app is so easy to use. You can connect your bank accounts, analyze your spending, access support and resources, while seeing the big picture and the patterns of what’s going on.

“We chose Bippit, because it offers the comprehensive financial wellbeing support that our people need.”


Showing your team that you care about their needs

Along with the likes of HelloFresh and Beam, EPIC is one of the many companies benefitting from Bippit’s all-in-one financial wellbeing platform.

Want to improve your team’s financial health? Book a free Financial Wellbeing Lunch & Learn for your workplace.


Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?

Providing Cubitts staff with a toolkit for happiness and success

Providing Cubitts staff with a toolkit for happiness and success

Providing Cubitts staff with a toolkit for happiness and success

Two thirds of us wear spectacles. Half of us wear them every day.

Despite this, Cubitts (a modern spectacle maker born in London) says the industry hasn’t changed in three hundred years, products have become tired, and standards have become poor. So they’re working to “drag this $130bn industry into the modern age.”

To do this, they’re always on the lookout for talented people to join them, and to stay with them. Emilie Rytter Dahl, Community Associate at Cubitts, explains: “Cubitts has grown a lot, and so we need to respond to the changing needs of our employees if we want to attract and retain talent.”

“It’s important that we ask ourselves how we can take care of people as a company. How can we build a toolkit of benefits, that people can use to create the life they want?”

“We always check in with staff to review the internal benefits we offer, and in a recent community survey the demand was clear: people wanted access to a financial wellbeing platform.”

This is what led Cubitts to Bippit…

“We sat down with different providers but decided to partner with Bippit for a few reasons,” says Emilie. “They were very humble about the reasons why their platform would suit our team, and it came recommended by other brands using Bippit too, including Astrid & Miyu.”

“Bippit, and all the resources it offers, felt like it would work really well for our team’s varying needs right now.”

When a company signs up to Bippit, every one of their employees is matched 1-1 with a professionally qualified financial coach. These coaches come with years of training, years of experience, and adhere to the highest standards of conduct and ethics.

“The fact that you can get one-on-one time with a financial professional is a really valuable aspect of the partnership,” adds Emilie.

“We’re living in difficult times right now, and I think everyone is struggling in different ways. Having Bippit gives our people another tool they can use to understand their finances better, both in the short and long term.”


Encouraging financial confidence with Bippit

9/10 employees say they want support from an impartial financial expert. This is why Bippit has become such a popular platform for forward-thinking employers.

Our professional coaches can deal with queries about pension schemes, equity plans, taxation, and insurance benefits. This helps support employees, but also frees up company time so those in HR or finance can focus on the big picture rather than having to handle everyday financial questions.

Emilie says: “friends of mine at different companies use Bippit, and I’ve heard extremely good reviews from them. They’ve told me how much more comfortable they feel with their finances and future goals.”

“We’ve only just given staff access to Bippit, but when we told them about the platform there was a really good response across our stores and HQ teams.”

“The platform is easy to use and fully mobile. It’s so accessible for everyone. You’re never unsure of what to do or how it works. It’s really great.”


Book a free financial wellbeing session today

Along with the likes of HelloFresh and Beam, Cubitts is one of the many companies benefitting from Bippit’s all-in-one financial wellbeing platform.

Want to improve your team’s financial health? Book a free Financial Wellbeing Lunch & Learn for your workplace.


Ready to explore how Bippit can

support your team?