The third Monday of January – 20 January in 2020 – is sometimes known as ‘Blue Monday’, supposedly the most depressing day of the year due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and the arrival of unpaid credit card bills. Although it is debated how accurate this is, January is certainly a busy time for the debt help sector.
A YouGov survey carried out for Relate, Relationships Scotland and Marriage Care found that money worries was the top (most-identified) pressure on relationships, with 26% of people saying that financial concerns caused a strain on their relationships – a pressure which increases when partners have contrasting relationships to money. A recent AIG Life survey found that couples share just £1 in every £5 of their income in joint accounts, with 17% keeping completely separate accounts Some studies suggest that money problems are the number one cause of divorce.
In response to these financial pressures on today’s couples and families, FamilyLife UK (part of Agapé UK) and Christians Against Poverty have come together to launch a new app module, which will help couples to talk about money and to handle the impact of money and debt on their relationships better. The ‘Money’ module is part of the Toucan app, a free app which can be used individually and together by couples to invest in and strengthen their relationship.
The ‘Money’ module was launched at a breakfast event in Westminster on 15 January 2020 sponsored by Sir Gary Streeter MP and attended by cross party MPs and many organisations involved in relationship support.
Paula Stringer, UK CEO for Christians Against Poverty, said how pleased she was to be working with FamilyLife UK on this new project:
‘Talking freely about finances is one of the biggest challenges couples can face so we’ve been delighted to work with Family Life on this new Money module for the Toucan app. The CAP Money Course referenced in the module has helped tens of thousands of people to budget. Our hope is that it will give people the best excuse for talking about their financial priorities rather than leaving it until a crisis point.’
Mark Daniel, Director of FamilyLife UK, commented:
‘Money can place a huge stress on relationships. It’s often a difficult subject to talk about, because couples have different expectations and priorities regarding money. We’re excited to be launching a Money module for the Toucan app in collaboration with Christians Against Poverty (CAP), to help create positive communication around finances for couples AND to give them some tools and resources to manage their money better.’
Emeritus Professor Janet Walker OBE added:
‘Money is the number one trigger of arguments between partners, and conflicts about money are more pervasive and intense, less easily resolved, and more enduring than most other conflicts. And they are more likely to result in relationship breakdown. What really matters is not how frequently couples disagree, but how they resolve their differences. Toucan’s brilliant money module helps couples to work through their differences in their own time to resolve money problems. And it helps them to strengthen their relationship and understand that ‘it’s good to talk’.’
NOTE: Toucan is an app developed by FamilyLife UK, which provides a unique online interactive series for couples to invest in and strengthen their relationships in a way that can easily fit in with their busy lifestyles. It is available from App Store and Google Play. Toucan brings together practical relationship tools with video clips of couples from a wide range of backgrounds and ages sharing their experiences, alongside interactive exercises, fun quizzes, engaging animation and eye-catching graphics. Toucan’s main aim is to strengthen relationships by helping to: • build friendship and greater intimacy • develop and deepen communication • resolve conflict in healthy ways • learn to speak each other’s Love Languages • deal with tough times and grow a vision for marriage • manage money well together. Sir Paul Coleridge from the Marriage Foundation described Toucan as ‘a powerful new app’ which is ‘fun and motivating’, while Katharine Hill from Care for the Family commented that it was ‘easy to use’ and ‘perfect for busy couples on the go’