It should be no surprise that financial stress has effects beyond your bank balance. Mental and physical health are directly related to what happens with your personal finances.
Nearly half of people who report being “financially unwell” said that they feel stress as a direct result of it. That’s in stark contrast with those whose finances are in better shape.
Those with financial woes said they’re often worrying about how to deal with their money. That includes things like paying bills, credit card debt, and planning for emergencies.
If you’re financially stressed, it can distract you at work and impact your personal life.
Financial Stress is More Common Than You Think
Most of us will deal with financial trouble at some point in our lives. It could be our car breaking down or a late bill payment.
Usually, this stress goes away when we get a handle on the situation. But for some of us, this stress remains a constant. Left untreated, financial stress can creep into daily life. In fact, stress in America is considered by experts to be a new mental health crisis.
Here are a few ways to see if you’re financially stressed.
Managing Financial Stress
Financial stress doesn’t start and end with your pocketbook. Often, your environment, habits, and social circle can also play a role.
As you work to better your finances, focusing on these other areas of your life may also help.
Family and Friends
Your inner circle can help you more than you realize. And we’re not talking about borrowing money from them.
Your family and friends can be a big source of helping deal with stress.
Supportive families have been shown to have healthier lifestyles overall. This better health can ease depression and stress in other areas of life. If you have problems in your relationships though, this can compound your stress.
Finding a support system that can help your personal life can ease the stress long enough to start dealing with your money problems. When you feel happy and confident in other areas of your life, it’s easier to get the motivation to tackle your finances.
Believe it or not, your community may also be a source of stress or relief. Minority and underrepresented groups often report higher levels of stress overall.
In some communities, there are stigmas around mental health. As a result, there may be fewer resources to call upon to get the help you need.
Recognizing your community’s attitudes around money and financial stress can help you make smarter decisions.
Addressing Financial Concerns
If money is causing you stress, it’s time to take a hard look at the source of the problem.
Is it mounting debt? Are your car payments too high? Are your student loans piling up?
Whatever is affecting your financial health, it’s imperative that you address it. Know that it could take weeks or years to actually overcome the financial issue. But making a plan to work through it is the most important step.
It could be starting with checking in on your student loans and planning for your payoff date. Creating a budget may help you get a birds eye view of your financial situation. Or you may decide to create an emergency fund to prevent future hiccups.
Know that your financial situation isn’t impossible to overcome. It only requires taking the first step to begin the journey to a healthier relationship with your money.
Creating a Budget
In our experience, many financial problems lead back to a lack of budgeting.
Budgeting isn’t a sexy or novel idea. But having a strong idea of where your money is going each month leads to healthier decisions all around. Sticking to a budget is one of the best ways to get back on track with your financial goals.
A good budget tells you how much money is coming in and going out. It helps you prepare for unexpected expenses, creates a financial plan, and helps you save money.
More than a third of Americans report not being able to cover a $400 emergency. Having a strong emergency fund is the difference between piling on debt and making it to next month.
Financial stress affects all of us at some point. But knowing the warning signs and techniques to address it are imperative.
Your family and community might be exacerbating your stress levels. And the resources available to you may not be adequate enough to help you improve your mental health.
Be aware of how your finances may be amplifying your depression or waning physical health. Start taking small steps to address your financial worries and know that it could take time to feel like you’re finally in control of your finances.