Updated: Mar 7
Most of us have experienced some form of money worries in our lives. We all deal with this in different ways, but money problems can affect both mental and physical health. When we are stressed about money, it can also lead us to make poorer financial decisions leading to a negative spiral.
What is financial wellbeing? Financial wellbeing is about a sense of security and feeling content knowing you have enough money to meet your basic needs. To enjoy a stress-free life, it’s important to stay in control of your finances. Your physical and mental health will benefit if you have a financial plan and achievable goals set. The impact of financial wellbeing on your mental and physical health Your finances can have a massive impact on your mental and physical health, and the wellbeing of your family.
Money worries often lead to people feeling low or anxious. This can affect concentration and productivity at work, and lead to poor decision making.
Anxieties caused by financial insecurity can also affect sleep which has in impact on mental resilience.
Stress and depression are more prevalent in households where debt is an issue.
Children are more likely to be diagnosed with a mental health condition if they come from a less well-off household.
When people struggle to pay for the basics such as food, heating and medication their physical health can suffer.
Stress can lead to a poor diet as people choose convenience food which is often high in fat, sugar and salt.
Inability to pay for sports or gym memberships can impact exercise levels.
Getting on top of your finances A weekend spent focusing on getting on top of your finances and making a plan can help you stay one step ahead and reduce the worry and feel more in control. Make a budget Everyone should know their income, expenditure and disposable income once day-to-day expenses are covered. It's important for both partners in a relationship to understand their financial situation. A budget in writing reinforces and reminds you of the direction you are guiding your finances in, whether it is saving or becoming debt free. Free budget planner templates are available from The Money Advice Service and Money Saving Expert. Pay off debt Debt is a huge obstacle for many when it comes to reaching financial goals so it’s important to make paying it off a priority. There is plenty of free debt help available from places like the Money Advice Service and Citizens Advice if you don’t know where to start. Set goals Setting short and long term financial goals can help you stay on track and avoid feelings of overwhelm.
Ideas of short term goals could be:
Decreasing your monthly spending – set yourself a limit
Try to not use your credit cards – leave them at home
Minor repairs/home improvements – make a list and prioritise, save up before spending
Emergency savings – research suggests that 3 months’ salary is a good amount for an emergency fund, but anything is better than nothing and getting into a regular savings habit is useful
Ideas of long term goals could be:
Pay off your mortgage – are you in a position to overpay?
Getting out of debt – pay off most expensive debt first
Retiring early – use a pension calculator to see how much you need to save now for the future
Try to set SMART goals to keep you motivated. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound.
Think about which are the most important to you and will have the biggest impact and prioritise your list.
The Money Advice Service has produced a guide about making the most of your money.
It contains impartial, clear and helpful advice and tools to help you: - Take control of your finances - Get the money you’re entitled to - Plan for the unexpected - Secure your future Our sources and for more information: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk www.citizensadvice.org.uk
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