This month we bring you Katherine (a gorgeous client) and partner from Wattle Financial Planning to assist you in money matters leading to a happier healthier life. It’s not how much you have…it’s the impact that it has on your life that matters…
Breaking the Money-Stress Connection
Money is a central feature in our lives. It is also a major cause of stress and anxiety for so many. The Australian Psychological Association’s survey on ‘Stress and Wellbeing’ in Australia found, “Financial issues are rated as the top cause of stress over the five years (2011 -2015)”. Whilst there is a focus on healthy eating and exercise habits, healthy money habits are just as important to ensure we stay both physically and mentally well.
The connection between stress and our finances is deeply rooted in our emotions. Have you ever thought about how the day to day money situations make you feel? When your card gets declined at a till – Embarrassed? Angry? Or when you buy something you really want but know you can’t afford – Happy then Guilty? Unsure how you are going to pay all your bills this month – Worried or Scared?
Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling out of control and left unmanaged has the potential to seriously impact our health and wellbeing, with effects ranging from poor sleep to headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression and anxiety.
So, how do we break this ‘Money-Stress Connection’? The key is to change how we think about and manage our money. Easier said than done? Start small, build your confidence, ask questions, seek Financial Advice (there is no need to be embarrassed about what you don’t know). Be patient with yourself, the changes will soon add up.
Here is our advice to get you started:
- ‘Knowledge is power.’ This is the most important tool in taking control of your financial worries. Without it you are in the dark. When you start a new role with a lot to learn (we have all been there and know it is not a comfortable feeling) we ask questions, source and read relevant information, make notes, practice with new systems. Learning how to effectively manage our money is no different.
- Money Habits. Before we can create ‘healthy’ ones, we need to identify the ‘unhealthy’ ones. So often they have an emotional attachment – e.g. bad day = ‘retail therapy’ on the credit card; a fear of missing out (FOMO) so go out for dinner knowing you can’t afford to. Then put new habits in place, i.e. saving a % of your wage when you get paid, set it up as an automatic transfer so you don’t have to think about it. A study published in The European Journal of Social Psychology on habit formation found it can take anywhere from 2 to 8 months to build a new behaviour into your life. Breaking old habits and building new ones it is a learning process it doesn’t have to be perfect, it takes time and the experience is different for everyone.
- What’s your Plan? A spending plan/budget is essential to keep you on track. You know exactly what money you have coming in, going out and on what. There are great apps to help, i.e. Pocketbook (no excel spreadsheets!) Once you know where you are – and it is what it is – you can make a start on what you want to achieve. If it’s paying off debt, work out what your essentials vs nice to haves are and pay off the credit cards first as they have the biggest rate of interest.
- Set your Goals. What do you want to get out of your money? It is not possible to do everything so you need to work out what is most important to you i.e. buying a house, being debt free, having savings. Your spending plan, knowledge and healthy money habits will get you there.
Finally practice ‘Money Mindfulness.’ Consciously think about what you are doing with your money, how you are feeling at the time and ultimately how it will help you achieve your goals in the long term. Before long this will be another key skill to help you to stay in control and break that money ‘Stress-Connection’.
Wattle Financial Planning have partnered with Northcote Natural Therapies on a ‘Money-Stress Connection’ workshop. In this workshop, you will learn practical ways to make managing your money less stressful as well as how to reduce stress in the body with a focus on digestive health.
Thursday 9 March 7-8.30pm at Shoku Iku – For more information or book tickets Visit: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-money-stress-connectionare-our-finances-making-us-sick-tickets-31775912610 or contact Katherine on 0406181151 or firstname.lastname@example.org