Approximately 20 percent of adults are impacted by mental illness.1 For around 70 years, May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, meaning this is an opportune time for us to advocate, empower and listen.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with their mental health, you may find financial health suffers as well. Why? Because there’s a direct correlation between mental wellness and financial wellness. In fact, a recent study found that individuals with depression and anxiety were three times more likely to be in debt.2 In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are a few ways health and wealth can often go hand-in-hand.
Avoidance of Problems
Money is the second most common source of stress amongst adults.3 Therefore, it makes sense that dealing with bills, debt and budgeting are stressful activities. If you’re already feeling unwell, avoiding additional stress is understandable.
The problem is, avoiding your financial obligations won’t make them go away. And in many cases, it can make them worse. The temptation to push aside bill paying or phone calls to the credit card company is strong, but tackling these tasks on time or right away can create long-term relief.
Feelings of Hopelessness
When your mental health is struggling, it can be hard to think long-term. If you feel as though you’re losing control of the things around you today, what’s the point in trying to work toward future goals? Feelings of hopelessness can occur, and they can make long-term financial decision-making challenging.
Going hand-in-hand with loss of control is the urge to spend. When everything else seems to be spiraling, making a purchase can feel like something you actually have control over. The problem is, of course, this can lead to impulse buying - which can wreak havoc on your budget and increase debt. A lack of focus on facing your financial situation head-on could create a harmful cycle of spending more than you have while neglecting to address the accruing debt.
If your mental health is suffering, you’ll notice your energy levels decreasing as well. Fatigue, trouble sleeping, and lack of focus can all be common symptoms of declining mental health or stress. With what energy you do have, it’s likely you don’t want to spend it on your financial obligations. But your financial wellbeing requires action and focus, especially if you are faced with a large amount of debt or a substantial long-term savings goal.
Hard to Think Clearly
When you’re not feeling your best, making sound, rational decisions can be challenging. Your judgment may be clouded by how you’re feeling right now, meaning it’s tough to try to think about your future - especially your financial future.
Strategies to Minimize Stress
It’s likely the events of this past year have challenged your mental health in some way. If you find yourself worried about your financial wellbeing, you're not alone - and there are things you can do to make it better. Financial stress can stop even the most productive people in their tracks, causing sleepless nights, avoidance of debt, and denial. While it's best to talk to your financial professional about what's on your mind, you can also leverage these strategies to manage your stress on your own.
Make a list of your concerns. A lot of stress can come from trying to remember everything in your head. Instead, making a list you can cross off one at a time will reduce worries of missing or forgetting something, while also providing the satisfaction of checking something off your list.
Don’t let the news get to you. Due to many factors, craziness on the news may contribute to your feelings of financial stress. If you follow our monthly market updates, you’re likely already familiar with how what’s happening in the market differs from what is shared on the news. From a pandemic to gas shortages, all these seemingly catastrophic events will soon just be blips on an S&P 500 graph.
However, it’s hard not to have a “doom & gloom” mindset when it’s all you’re exposed to. Too much exposure to media can drastically increase your levels of stress and anxiety. If you can, take a step back from the media and news.
Get professional help. If you’ve found that your financial wellness may be suffering as a result of your mental health, reach out to your trusted financial partner. They can help keep your spending and saving on track today while encouraging healthy financial habits that keep your long-term goals a priority.
Schedule time to connect with one of our retirement experts who can help you work through your concerns.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.