It sounds strange, but for a nation that prides itself on having mastered the fine art of conversation we’re really bad at talking about money. In fact, according to a recent survey from debt experts Lowell, we’d rather chat about almost anything else. Family drama? Let’s talk it out. Health problems? We’ll lay it all on the table. A whiff of debt hassle or financial worries, though, and we clam up in a heartbeat.

To put it in perspective, it turns out that 82% of us are prepared to talk openly about tricky topics like fertility or miscarriage. Meanwhile, only 75% are happy to talk at all about their personal finances. That’s 1 in 4 people who wouldn’t reach out in a crisis.

As for why we’re so tight-lipped about money, it seems like a lot of it comes down to simple embarrassment. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that a debt problem is a mark against us personally. In that respect, we’re facing some of the same barriers that prevent people from getting help with mental health issues. Surprisingly, though, money ranks even higher than things like anxiety and depression in the charts of topics we refuse to discuss in the UK. There’s a “tough it out in silence” culture around a lot of these issues, and it’s doing real harm. The classic British “a problem shared is a problem two people have” attitude is stopping people from getting the help they need, and turning relatively simple problems into potential catastrophes.

From our work claiming tax refunds to our partnerships with ABF: The Soldiers’ Charity and The Lighthouse Club, we hear from a lot of people’s about their money woes. So much of the time, financial pressures and mental health issues go hand-in-hand, and it’s heartbreaking to see the damage they can do together. The thing is, even seemingly massive debt issues can be fixed, or at least made manageable, if you start talking about them soon enough.

We see this all the time with our tax refund customers. Dealing with HMRC can feel like a nightmare if you’re on your own and unsure of your footing. If we aren’t prepared to talk openly about money, we’re leaving struggling families in the dark about the help on offer. By the time they come to us, a lot of people are already in trouble with fines, penalties and interest stacking up against them. Even then, though, there’s so much we can do to help. So many times, we’ve been able to reduce or eliminate penalties, or knock a huge chunk out of someone’s debt with a well earned tax refund.

That’s why we work so hard to get the UK talking about tax refunds. Every step of the way, we’re fighting against the misconception that there’s something “wrong” with getting back what you’re owed, even when you’re in trouble.  As the UK’s leading tax experts, we’re committed to keeping that conversation going - and our voice is only getting louder.

Break the silence, not the bank. Talk to RIFT about tax refunds.

Where to get more help

Knowing where to look for financial help is critical. The Citizens Advice Bureau, for example, has a comprehensive service for debt issues. Meanwhile, National Debtline is also a great option for free and confidential advice, while Stepchange is a charity dedicated to helping people conquer their debt problems.

Other useful resources:

  • The Money Advice Service (0800 138 7777)
    Provides guidance on a range of money and debt problems, from moving home to starting a family.
  • Mental Health and Money Advice
    An online advice service focused on helping people to understand, manage and improve their financial and mental health.
  • Money Saving Expert
    The largest UK consumer advice website, helping people to bring down bills, tackle debt and save cash.
  • Debt Advice Foundation (0800 043 40 50)
    A charity offering free, confidential debt advice. Aims to give you back control of your finances.
  • National Debtline (0808 808 4000)
    Free, impartial and confidential debt advice from highly trained advisers.
  • Mental Health Foundation
    Organisation helping people to understand, protect and sustain good mental health.
  • Mind
    The mental health charity is determined to help people understand the relationship between money worries and mental health, and to show them how to improve both.
  • NHS Moodzone
    A no-nonsense survival guide for people suffering from financial stress.

If you've not checked yet if you're due a tax refund then take a minute to use our free tool. We can get back what's yours for you which could ease the pressure a little bit.