Do you know that financial stress is more common than you think? Anyone can experience financial stress/difficulty.
This equal opportunity terrorizer does not discriminate and is available to anyone, irrespective of race, from anywhere on this planet. Financial stress can cause havoc on your mental, emotional, and physical health; beware of this silent killer.
This post takes a closer look at financial stress’s effects on health.
Financial debt is more common than you think
An average American has approximately $16,000 in credit card debt alone. 8 out of 10 Americans have some form of debt. The total average debt is substantially higher at approximately $90,000.
That´s a lot of debt.
Debt is the most common source of stress. However, you would not know this because there is a stigma of shame attached to it. Many people are ashamed to talk about this with anyone or even seek out the help they need to get back on track.
They may look fine on the outside but are hemorrhaging financially, and as a result, many people suffer in silence. We live in a time of more debt and fewer savings.
Almost every adult will have stress about money at some point in their lives.
What is financial stress?
Financial stress occurs when a person or company cannot generate sufficient revenues or income, making it unable to meet or pay its financial obligations.
Causes of financial stress/distress
Are you prepared for a financial crisis?
- high fixed costs
- illiquid assets (assets that are hard to sell)
- revenues that are sensitive to economic downturns (Exhibit A: Covid-19)
A stay at the hospital can be very costly. Cancer treatments, diabetes medication, or kidney dialysis can be rather expensive.
Loss of employment
Unexpected or sudden loss of employment can throw anyone for a loop. This chain of events is a huge stumbling block for low-income families. Many people who are uninsured or under-insured try to cut corners, and unfortunately, health care is the 1st thing they cut out.
They need to see a doctor and get treatment to get better, but they don´t. They go to work sick, and the problem doesn´t go away but gets worse hence, the vicious cycle continues.
Reduced or no over-time
Now that this backup plan reserve has dried up; new solutions need to be explored.
Ignorance is not bliss here. Most people do not have a budget plan and are shopping in the dark; so to speak. They are essentially spending what they can´t afford without knowing it. Balancing your finances does not have to be complicated or expensive.
You can write your budget down manually, (it will stay in your memory longer) and save it to your computer or phone.
Keep budgeting simple to avoid additional stress.
Overspending in hot pursuit of the newest shiny objects and fads. Impulsive spending before checking to see if there are enough funds for extra purchases is unwise. Credit card debts are on the rise.
Too much debt
Many people are buried under student loans. You are not guaranteed your dream job after you graduate. Most people do not get their dream jobs but have to take a job that can support them. However, you still have to pay off your student loans.
Excessive credit card debt should be prohibited. More debt=fewer savings- no savings means no emergency cushion, which causes you to go further into debt.
Even financially responsible people are not exempt from financial crises from unforeseen expenses, such as malfunction/breakdown of costly home appliances, expensive car repairs, flooding of a basement, or an act of God like a tree damaging your home.
Financial stress is a threat. You can either ‘fight’ through your circumstance or ‘flight’ run away from, avoid, or ignore it. The better choice is to fight; by finding ways and organizations that help you turn your situation around.
Financial stress causes many people to delay health care treatments and cut corners by sacrificing their health.
Effects of Financial Stress
Financial stress affects every aspect of your health (mental, emotional, and physical).
- constant worry about finances
- poor concentration
- can increase the risk of deadly illnesses (heart disease)
- can increase headaches/migraines
- can cause digestion problems
- can cause diabetes
- can increase the chances of experiencing insomnia
- can cause skin flair-ups such as psoriasis
- can increase the chances of getting high blood pressure
- can increase tiredness
- can cause muscle pain
- can lead to substance abuse (can cause co-dependency on prescription drugs)
- can lower sex drive
- can cause depression
- can increase your chances of catching a cold/flu
Depression is more than being sad and doubting yourself. It is a very serious matter that should not be taken lightly. Stress can start in your mind due to constant worrying, but it can go into your body; in the form of diseases.
Do not underestimate depression. Your body sends signals to you. Learn to listen to your body as it tries to speak to you through symptoms.
Financial stress signs
- arguing with people who are closest to you about money
- mood swings
- muscle pain
- appetite changes causing either weight loss or weight gain
Financial stress facts
80% of Americans have consumer debt.
13% of Americans expect to be in debt for the rest of their lives.
2 out of 10 Americans use at least 50% of their income to repay their debts.
19% of Americans have no money put aside for an emergency.
2/3 of Americans would struggle to scrape up $2000 in emergencies.
Almost half of the families in the US live paycheck to paycheck.
Medical debt is the leading debt in the US at 76%.
41% of the population does not set aside money for retirement.
33% take three years or more to pay off the credit card.
25% buy groceries on their credit cards.
What can be done to combat the effects of financial stress?
Guard your health
In times like these, you cannot afford to lose or sacrifice your health. Put measures in place to protect your mind, emotions, and body first and foremost.
Since financial stress started in your mind, it would be wise to counteract it there; feed your mind a buffet of positive thoughts. There are many ways out of a difficult situation. There is hope that all is not lost, although the circumstances may seem hopeless.
Some organizations and charities are willing to help people get out of debt, so do your due diligence and find them. When you are tempted to worry, replace that thought with a positive one. The practice of positive thinking may be uncomfortable at first, but once you get the hang of it, you will soon master your thoughts and not bow down to them.
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Journaling is a healthy way to recognize and deal with your feelings. You can see where you are struggling financially; write your goals down and tackle one problem at a time.
You do not want to overwhelm yourself. Take baby steps before you start running.
Meditation is a great tool to release stress and anxiety. It requires minimal contributions on your part. You only need to go someplace quiet for 15 minutes, sit still, control your breathing, and clear your mind of all thoughts.
Make sure you eat a healthy balanced meal. You want your body to work for you, not against you, so eat healthy meals to strengthen your immune system. Give your body the advantage it needs in difficult times.
Exercise is a strong defense against sickness. It keeps your weight constant and keeps diseases at bay. It uplifts you emotionally and physically and can change your mood.
Check your financial health
Get on top of your finances. See where the money is going. Figure out how you can cut costs. Get a simple budget in place. If you are not good with finances, learn simple strategies and take achievable measures.
It is never too late to learn about finances.
Do not be afraid or ashamed to get the available help you may need. Many organizations and charities can help you get out of debt.
You can get assistance from your bank. Banks can help customers who are experiencing financial difficulties.
Now that you had a look at your financial health and have a plan in place, it doesn´t hurt to find a second stream of income. There are many opportunities to make some extra money on the side.
You can work remotely for a few hours a week, saving you the commute and wardrobe costs.
There are jobs for skilled (Social media manager) and unskilled (Online English language as a native speaker) positions.
It is possible to turn your hobbies into a money-making tool. Do you like baking? You can bake birthday cakes for friends at a small cost to pay for all the ingredients and make a little profit.
How would you like to start an online business for just a couple of hours a week and earn extra income? WA (Wealthy affiliates have been in the industry for over 15 years and are the leaders in their field; in terms of trust and transparency).
If you have college-age children, consider sending them to a European University. There are Bachelor programs that range up to 4,500 € for citizens and 8,600€ for non-EU international students per year, and Master programs from 5,100€ for citizens and 10, 170€ for non-EU citizens.
These are some of the pricer Universities. In some countries, public universities are free for both citizens and international students, and the cost of living is very affordable. You will have to fill out paperwork and get a student visa. This information is just to show you that there are more possibilities out there.
I understand you would like to send your child to his/her dream university, but at what cost? What if this isn´t financially possible? Keep in mind that companies view candidates with international experience as an asset.
Not to mention, the experience your child will gain can be enriching. Your child will have a deeper understanding of different cultures and a better worldview. This experience will be impactful and equip your child with the tools for success; in business and as an individual.
Financial distress is common. Even wealthy people had a few failures/ bankruptcies before they eventually became successful; no one is exempt from its torment. Do not despair there is good news.
There are resources out there to help you in your time of need. Many have fallen before you. They got up and brushed themselves off, and moved on. The same is possible for you. There is hope in this dark process, so find it and get out quickly.
Let this experience be a lesson learned and a reminder of your resilience.
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