Managing your money - AgeUk advice

Managing your money – don’t end up like Emmerdale’s Edna Birch

Age UK’s top tips on managing your money and how to seek help if you have debts

AgeUK asked us to promote this article and we are pleased to do so - the reference to Edna Birch is relevant but not exclusive to this character; it's never too late to learn and this article also provides some useful contact information if you are finding retirement brings new financial challenges ! 

As Edna Birch in ITV’s Emmerdale struggled to cope financially, Age UK is encouraging older people not to suffer in silence with money worries and to seek advice.

Stopping work in later life is something that many of us look forward to, but if the choice is not entirely our own – like Edna – or if we haven’t put enough money aside, then financial matters can spiral out of control. It is important to consider how we will afford to live on our pension and whether we are claiming all the benefits that are available.

Everything comes with a cost so it is important to make our money work for us as effectively as possible. Age UK’s Head of Information and Advice, Lucy Harmer, shares her top tips on managing money and how to go about seeking help with money worries:

  • Speak up: If you’re finding it hard to cope financially then don’t suffer in silence. If you’re aged 60 or over, you could be entitled to benefits that you haven’t been able to claim before. These can help you keep your independence and improve your standard of living.
  • Get a benefits check: Contact your local Age UK to get a benefits check to make sure you’re claiming all the money you’re entitled to. You can find your nearest Age UK by calling Age UK Advice on 0800 169 65 65 or visiting As well as giving you a benefits check, your local Age UK can help you fill in any claim forms to maximise your chances of making a successful claim. You can also use Age UK’s online benefits calculator at
  • Help with keeping warm during winter: If you are struggling to keep warm during winter there are measures you can take to help keep your home warm and bills down. You may be eligible for help with the financial costs of implementing these measures and assistance with your heating costs. Call Age UK Advice free on 0800 169 65 65 or visit, where you can also order a free copy of the ‘Winter wrapped up’ guide with a free thermometer. 
  • Seek help: If you have debts then it’s never too early or too late to seek help. There are organisations to help you who will be sympathetic and understanding. Don’t borrow more money to pay off your debts and don’t pay for debt advice. Get free advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau, National Debtline (tel: 0808 800 4000) or StepChange (tel: 0800 138 1111).
  • Prioritise any debts: ‘Priority bills’ are the ones for which non-payment could lead to serious trouble. For example, if you don’t pay your mortgage, your home could be repossessed. Or if you don’t pay your gas or electricity bills, your energy supply could be cut off.  Don’t panic if you’re behind on any of these bills. Contact one of the agencies above for help with prioritising your debts.
  • Work out a household budget: In the longer term, once you’ve claimed any benefits you may be entitled to, work out a household budget and ensure your outgoings match your income. Review your spending and think carefully about whether there are any non-essential items you could cut out. Be realistic and don’t cut back on essentials like food and heating.  Age UK’s free guide Managing your money has information on balancing your budget, as well as budgeting worksheets to fill out. Call 0800 169 6565 for a free copy or download it from

To find out more about how Age UK can help call Age UK Advice for free on 0800 169 6565, visit or speak to your local Age UK.

About Age UK

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and well being, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group (“we”).  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity). 

Content credited to:   Age UK  2013

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