Financial Education in the Workplace
Taking the stress out of money through training and consultancy
Understanding how you feel, think about and handle money helps you better manage your personal finances, enhance your relationships and improve your well-being
Who are we?
As a husband and wife team, we founded AurumGold to help businesses improve the well-being of their workforce. With AurumGold’s 21 years’ experience in the finance industry, we found an increasing demand for services to specifically address the financial well-being of employees.
With that in mind, we developed a unique approach that helps organisations and their people to thrive.
We have worked with a wide array of organisations such as county councils, family law firms, care and residential homes, colleges, government departments, companies in manufacturing, in IT and finance. We have an excellent track record for delivering on our client’s objectives – no matter the size or type of the organisation.
I’m Penny – co-founder of AurumGold and wife of Phill.
I have a family background in sales and business ownership. My father was a salesman and went on to part own a company, as did my brother. So, it seemed natural to start a business myself. When our three children went to school full-time, the opportunity arose. Having cut hair as an amateur for years, I trained in hairdressing and could now offer this skill professionally. I was able to develop further hairdressing skills whilst working in a salon. In time I established my own mobile hairdressing business in 1996. The beauty of owning and managing a hairdressing business was the flexibility it offered; I could devote time to my children. We lived in Bradford at the time, so I sought clients around this area. When we moved to Wakefield, I established another strong client base whilst still maintaining but gradually reducing my Bradford clients.
One of my core values is ‘family’. This has informed my decisions and career choices. The sense of responsibility, to be there for my family, maintain and grow our relationships together whilst holding down a part-time job, was very important. I progressed into full-time work as our children went into their teenage years, but it has often been a challenge to juggle all the demands on my time. Looking for a career that could support, but not overtake, the needs of our growing family, has always been of paramount importance.
The hairdressing business flourished until it reached capacity. It became impossible to take on new clients without an apprentice. Unfortunately, customers were not so keen on this prospect. Having reached a ceiling, it was becoming a frustration; both the business and I would stagnate if I couldn’t find a way forward. Also, I was ready to take on a new challenge! Therefore, I gradually found new hairdressers for my clients and started to explore healthcare as an alternative career.
‘Health’ is a strong and persistent value of mine and it has impacted many areas of my life; nutritionally, for myself and family, (including weight loss), and physically and emotionally. Entering the pharmaceutical industry was a means of outworking this value.
The motivation to achieve something more demanding and stretch myself, and to provide for our family, was strong. I love achieving a goal – sometimes the more demanding the better. I also enjoy solving problems and overcoming obstacles. One such obstacle was gaining access to the pharmaceutical industry. This required a science degree; I had a Biology ‘O’ level! During an agency interview it was recommended that I should pursue an area of expertise rather than pharmaceutical or healthcare. i.e. dental nursing or hairdressing! However, my perseverance was rewarded. I was eventually accepted, after passing an entrance exam. 16 years of promotion, study, achievement, and recognition followed. One of the awards I am most proud was a Pharma Times national award. I was the first in the company to achieve this. After many promotions, I reached the highest level within the company. Time, effort, and strong relationships had brought success.
I am very grateful for those who believed in me and helped me along the way. I found this part of my life rewarding, but also very challenging at the same time. As I grew to understand myself; my values, motivations and understanding of areas that I wanted to progress and develop, I wanted to offer this service for the benefit of others.
Even though I enjoyed the sales environment, I knew it was time to make a difference to society and change my career yet again. Too many physical ailments come from psychological stressors; addressing internal struggles leads to external health. This led me to follow my growing passion for emotional health.
The starting point for this happened whilst working in Pharma. The family-run international business that I was employed by was taken over by a large corporate company. It was a huge struggle to adapt and find positive models for personal growth after eight years of working for the same company. The new company had a completely different culture and set of values. (I thrive in an environment of stability, routine, progression, achievement, relationship building.) My values were aligned in the first company’s culture and misaligned in the new one. I did not understand how important this was to me at the time. I have come to understand that our personal values connect or disconnect with company values.
My journey was taking a new path of understanding myself more fully and finding a path that aligned more clearly with these values. This came to a head in 2016 when my husband, Phill and I suffered a personal trauma. We had not experienced emotional pain like this before and we found it hard to progress through it. I think it was made harder as we were both affected. We could draw upon a few experiences i.e. three redundancies and how we had dealt with, sometimes well and sometimes not so well. However, our understanding of this area of emotional health was limited. We sought help through counselling, CBT, and various courses. It was and remains, the most challenging and rewarding journey that I have been on so far.
But, how did we end up being involved with financial well-being? We were approached by a company to cover this area due to Phill’s financial background and our coaching experience. We have also had many financial challenges ourselves, personally and as a couple. Some have been as a result of miscommunication over money, which led to many arguments, sadly. Throughout our relationship we have been through a broad spectrum of financial circumstances.
At one point, I remember we had completely run out of money and had nothing to eat one evening. Thankfully there was a very timely knock at the door as a relative dropped off some groceries. Unfortunately, we have also suffered debt – partly our own fault and partly through circumstances. We have also had years of plenty, where we did not have to concern ourselves with monthly challenges at all, with plenty of holidays, savings in the bank and a healthy plan for the future.
It’s interesting to consider that money was rarely discussed in my family growing up, but there were different ways of dealing with it. I have seen these various behaviours in different people since – for example extreme saving and difficulty spending, and the polar opposite, spending and difficulty saving and various variations in between. Throughout my journey I have noticed how my mental health can affect how I deal with my finances. If I feel stressed and anxious it can be difficult to concentrate and mistakes can be made. However, when I am calm, I can stay on top of my finances and other commitments.
Therefore, I was delighted when Phill and I decided to work together, combining our experiences to the benefit of others. Our approach is to give people the tools, knowledge and practical help to enable them to understand their behaviours. We love walking alongside people to help them on their journey, enabling them to discover who they are and why they are like they are. This gives them hope for both their present life and future – transforming themselves and their relationships in the process.
I’m Phill Holdsworth, co-founder and director of AurumGold. Like so many others, I have struggled with financial pressures and the resulting anxiety. My work has been influenced by both my personal experience and by my 21 years in the finance industry. I would like to share with you my story, so that you can find out what led Penny and I to help others into financial well-being.
I grew up in a difficult home. I was never mistreated but life was hard. We left my rather aggressive father when I was 4 years old. My stepfather, whom I considered as a father, died when I was 10. I missed him immensely and from this point we never had a great deal in the way of possessions or finances.
As I grew into my teens, I suffered forms of depression, even considering taking my own life. However, life changed dramatically for me in my twenties when I discovered my faith.
In 1984 I met Penny – now my beautiful wife who I am just as in love with today, if not more so. Penny and I thought the world was ours for the taking but isn’t it funny how life can bring you back to earth with a bump?
Back in 1998, we were facing financial hardship after 12 years of struggle, and the terrible pressures we suffered whilst trying to earn an income, bring up a young family and secure a future for them.
I experienced two years of unemployment, having been made redundant three times. Trying to manage our money at a time when creditors showed very little in the way of empathy seemed almost impossible. Not being able to create enjoyable experiences for our family or for others outside our family was hard and at times quite isolating. I found it very difficult to talk about our circumstances especially our finances fearing what others might think of us and how they might treat us. It was crippling.
Penny and I were at our wits end, but why did we feel this way?
The most obvious reason was that we didn’t know our legal position, and how to deal with the increasing number of creditor’s letters and phone calls. In hindsight, the most important factor was that we didn’t understand what our values were and how we related to money. As such, we didn’t include these in our budgeting except those things that everyone else was telling us were important.
This sense of hopelessness, and increasing stress made it hard to concentrate at work. The quality of my work suffered, and I wasn’t as productive. This rankled with me because I valued commitment and wanted to do a good job.
We were thankful for friends and family, who supported us as much as they were able. However, it wasn’t enough to turn the mounting tide of indebtedness, and in 1998 we found ourselves in sizeable debt and experiencing the significant resultant stress.
We needed help!
A friend mentioned a charity that could help us work our way out of debt. What’s more, the advice was free. Making that call for help was not an easy thing to do. But, to our relief, the person on the other end of the phone wasn’t judgemental; instead they showed great empathy. They understood how Penny and I were both feeling.
With their help we learned how to improve our money management and to deal effectively with those difficult letters and calls. We even learned what our legal rights were. They acted as a buffer between the collectors and us, and gave us breathing space to pay our debts, whilst being able to live as a family without the stress.
It was amazing. Like a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We could live again!
In 2002 we became debt free! It is difficult to explain how this happened. But thanks to the help of our advisor, we came out of what was for us, a very dark place. We both felt so much happier. I was able to focus on my work and become fully engaged. The quality and quantity of my work increased.
I have since stayed on this positive track and state of well-being by having a deep understanding of who I am, what my purpose is (my faith), my values and beliefs. Now my main driver is a deep passion to make a difference in other people’s lives.
So why have I told you this? Well, over time I have come to discover that it is not enough just to deal with the practicalities of managing money, as important as that is. It is equally, if not more important to understand what our relationship with money is and how this influences our personal use of money and our relationships with others.
Over 14 years in the money advice sector, I worked very closely with government departments, industry lead bodies and policy institutes alongside counterparts within the money advice sector. I had the privilege of working for all seats of government throughout the UK and the European Parliament in Brussels. I even helped shape debt advice regulations in Scotland and regulations in England. I am passionate about using this extensive experience for the benefit of others as much as I possibly can.
I want to help people who worry about money to better understand themselves, their relationship with money, and what their own true aspirations are, whilst simultaneously improving their money management skills.
There is nothing more encouraging than seeing someone who I’ve helped discover a brighter future and who goes on to become a valued contributor within their family and place of work.
Our mission is to promote emotional and mental wellbeing in the workplace. Helping individuals and organisations to perform at their peak, our aim is to inspire a healthier, happier and more engaged working environment.
Our vision is to create healthier and happier working environments where everyone can thrive. To achieve this, we will provide ongoing, holistic care and support for employees and management, for the benefit of everyone.
Our business draws inspiration from Kintsugi, the ancient Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with golden lacquer. Just as Kintsugi makes the repaired piece more beautiful and stronger than the original, we look to draw upon the hidden gold that lies inside every individual – rebuilding them and inspiring them to become stronger and to achieve their full potential.
What is Financial Well-being?
94% of UK employees suffer from financial worries according to the latest figures – a stark statistic.
However, the ripple effect of this is significant too, with nine out of 10 larger UK businesses (2.4 million) suffering due to poor employee financial well-being. This costs UK employers more than £120 billion every year through stress related absenteeism, presenteeism, lower productivity and employee churn.
Within our society there are people who love to use their money to make others feel special and valued. There are others who believe in the importance of maximising every penny and don’t like to waste anything. In addition, there are those who love to create memorable and enjoyable experiences, using money to forge important relationships and invest in the next generation.
Perhaps we can all, at some time or other, identify with these descriptions. So, when life events put a strain on meeting these values, it’s not surprising that worry and anxiety can quickly follow.
Understanding our Values, Beliefs and Purpose is critical to understanding of ourselves, making plans and producing workable goals for the future
Financial stress isn’t confined to any particular area of a person’s life; it can affect our work; our relationships; our social life too. How can I support my employee’s mental health and relieve their stress about money?
Through bespoke training and workshops, we help people to understand their own relationship with money, developing strategies to manage it effectively and so move towards a less stressful and more authentic life. The net result? Happier, healthier, more productive people.