The penny drops podcast: Getting through financial hardship


In this episode, Andrea Fox speaks to singer, actor and TV presenter Duncan James, who shares his personal story of financial hardship. Joining him is Jo Kerr, Director of Impact and Innovation at Turn2us, who guides us through the options and support available for people who are financially vulnerable.

What will we be talking about?

Any one of us can experience financial hardship because of an unexpected life shock. Things like losing a job, becoming ill or losing a loved one can have a huge impact on our finances and our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic is one of the biggest shocks we’ve faced as a society, so it’s more important than ever to know where to seek support if you need it.

This month we cover:

  • Personal stories of financial hardship
  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the nation’s finances
  • Steps to help prevent further financial hardship if you’ve experienced a life shock
  • How to help yourself become more financially resilient in the future
  • The importance of financial support and advice charities
  • Where to turn if you need immediate support or are worried about your situation
  • Why you shouldn’t wait too long to seek help
  • The impact of financial hardship on mental health and where to find support

Who are our guests?

Duncan James is a singer, actor and TV presenter, best known for being part of the popular boyband Blue. Despite Blue’s success, in 2013, Duncan filed for bankruptcy, having been badly impacted by the crash in the property market. Jo Kerr is Director of Impact and Innovation at Turn2us, a national charity that helps millions of people in financial hardship each year.

Turn2us supports financially vulnerable people to get access to benefits, grants and services. You can find out more about their work by visiting the website – – or you can call the free helpline on 0808 802 2000 (open 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday). Royal London has partnered with Turn2us to help more people prevent a life shock from becoming a crisis. Find out more on our flagship charity partnership page.

All views and opinions expressed in the podcast are those of the guests and not of Royal London.

Where can you listen?

You can download and listen to episodes using the iTunes Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or Castbox apps – just search for ‘The penny drops’. Make sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new episodes, and please do leave us a review. We’d love to know what you think of the series.

If you don’t have access to an app, you can listen to the podcast online. We’ll send you reminders about any new episodes in your quarterly member emails.


How can you find more information?

Royal London recommends you seek professional independent financial advice before making financial decisions, if you are able to. You can learn more about the value of financial advice on our website, or visit Unbiased to find a trusted professional in your area.

For more support and information on the topics discussed in this episode, including financial help and guidance and mental health support, visit the following websites: 

Mental health support

Listen to the May 2020 episode of ‘The penny drops’, Money and your mental health, for more information on how our finances can affect our mental health, and where to go for support.

Help with debt
General financial information and support

This episode was recorded remotely in November 2020 during the coronavirus outbreak. For the latest information on financial support and benefits, visit Please note that all topics discussed in this episode can vary depending on your personal circumstances. Any figures quoted were accurate at the time of recording.

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