Why Castlight shines a light on debt prevention.
This apparently is the formula behind the calculation which pinpointed this year’s Blue Monday – the day in January claimed to be the most depressing of the year. The calculation factors in weather, debt, motivational levels, post Christmas slump and time since failing our New Year’s resolutions.*
Despite the traction the concept now has, it was in fact, simply a wheeze dreamed up by a PR company in 2005 for the holiday company Sky Travel to sell more sunshine holidays.
But as well as providing the content for a flurry of Blue Monday coverage in the papers, it is also a catalyst for mental health charities to post an important reminder that people struggle with depression all year round.
Debt Is At The Heart Of Blue Monday
And also, in amongst all the hype, pseudo science, and phoney calculations there is a kernel of truth in the sums. Debt is at the heart of the Blue Monday equation and debt is indeed at the root of much personal misery, depression and even suicidal thoughts and actions.
In fact, according to the UK’s Debt Support Trust website, suicide is considered by almost 50% of people struggling with debt in the UK.
This is a truly appalling statistic.
But its not just a statistic. Behind the statistics are people, families, each with their own story of the horrors of debt, sleeplessness, depression and in the very darkest times, suicidal thoughts. You only need to scroll through the threads on mumsnet.com and MoneySavingExpert.com to see cries for help such as “up to my eyes in debt and see no way out”.
Preventing Acute Debt Is At The Heart of Our Mission
Thankfully, there are some brilliant charities out there supporting people in debt, but where we as a Castlight team want to help, is in the “debt prevention” space. As our mission statement says, we work to create “a safer financial world”. We want to provide people with the tools they need to prevent debt in the first place. We want to keep people working and living within the safety of what is affordable to them. And we do this primarily through our Affordability Passport, using open banking technology to give people unprecedented insight into their income and expenditure. The wealth of categorised data, analysis of spending patterns and red flag warnings delivered by the Affordability Passport is designed to ensure that anyone using it is empowered to make safe financial decisions.
We are working to change the landscape in the debt space by investing our time and talents in the debt prevention space.
Because acute debt is terrible and it can be terrifying but it must never be the end of the world for anyone. Ever.
* ‘W’ stands for weather, ‘D’ for debt, ‘d’ refers to the monthly salary, ‘T’ the time since Christmas, ‘q’ the period since we’ve broken our New Year’s resolutions, ‘M’ for motivational levels while ‘Na’ is the feeling of a need to take action.