Mental, physical and financial wellness are three pillars of good health, and the relationship between one’s financial and mental health is a close one.
Despite the awareness that there is a lack of public knowledge (particularly in the mental health space) about personal financial management, and how financial stress can negatively affect mental health and overall well-being, there are few holistic options to address these issues.
For many Canadians, money worries are the greatest source of stress, more than work, personal health and relationships.
With ongoing conversations about rising food costs amid record inflation in Canada, many Canadians are dealing with depression and mental health issues due to their finances.
The 2022 Financial Stress Index from FP Canada reveals that 38% of Canadians say money is the biggest concern.
There are many sources of financial stress, including:
Financial stress affects working Canadians of all income levels and age groups.
Did you know?
If you are dealing with financial stress, you are:
Financial stress can also lead to more serious health problems, such as:
Where Should I Start?
We all have our own experience of money and economic factors, and these personal experiences drive our financial decisions, which significantly impact our lives and sense of well-being.
Some inquiry questions:
You can also seek a certified Financial Therapist — an interesting emerging field of psychotherapy. The Financial Therapy Association (FTA) is an organization comprised of professionals dedicated to the integration of cognitive, emotional, behavioural, relational, and financial aspects of well-being.
Usually we already know what we need to do, but we can’t get “out of our own way”. Personal financial choices are usually about 20% logic and 80% emotion. Finding clarity on what drives you can help align your actions with your goals.
The first step after a period of self-reflection and investigation is getting organized. Getting a copy of your credit report and score, having a record of who you owe and making a basic budget of your income and expenses will allow you to have a better idea of your financial situation.
Laying everything out on the table will be overwhelming, but it will also help put things into perspective.
Personal Finance Tip #1 - Read Books
If you need help with your finances but aren't sure where to start, seek financial wisdom in books written by experts.
There are many books out there on taking control of your finances, from how to get out of debt to how to build an investment portfolio. Books offer a great way to change your approach to managing money.
To boost your savings, you can buy used financial books online or borrow them for free at your local library. Consider audiobooks if you would rather listen than read or an app like Blinkist that summarizes books for you, and offers audio summaries as well.
Personal Finance Tip #2 - Start Budgeting
If you are struggling to handle your finances, then you likely need to create a budget—a plan for how to spend your money each month, based on how much you typically earn and spend. Budgeting is kind of like counting calories, practicing budgeting can help you learn what things are putting you over and ways you can save.
To start, write down your income and all your expenses, and then subtract the expenses from the income to determine discretionary spending. At the start of each month, set up a budget to determine how discretionary money gets spent. Track the spending over the month, and at the end of the month, determine whether or not you stuck to the budget. Starting this process can be messy, but over three months you will start to get a handle on things.
If you spent more than you made, you can fix your budget by cutting unnecessary expenses or earning more if possible. Implement the revised budget the next month to start living within your means.
Personal Finance Tip #3 - Reduce Monthly Expenses
While you may not be able to reduce certain fixed expenses, without drastically altering your lifestyle, you can reduce variable expenses, such as restaurants, clothing or entertainment.
Other Personal Finance Tips
5 Healing Financial Affirmations:
Understanding the Psychology of Money
7 Money Personality Types
5 Books That Will Transform The Way You Think About Money
The Seduction of Pessimism
“Optimism sounds like a sales pitch. Pessimism sounds like someone trying to help you.”
Wealth Lessons From “The Psychology Of Money” By Morgan Housel (Book Summary)
“Long-term planning is harder than it seems because people’s goals and desires change over time.”
OSR Team September Goals:
We hope this post serves as a point of inspiration to explore how money affects you emotionally and psychologically, how you interact with money, and to clarify your goals and align them with your wellness plan.