Financial Wellness

“I’m a bit short this month.” “I’m barely getting by.” If these phrases sound familiar, you’re not alone. 72% of adults report feeling stressed about money at least some of the time, and financial problems are consistently rated among the highest sources of stress. If left unchecked, a high level of financial stress can lead to a wide range of emotional problems and even physical conditions. Find out how you can develop a healthy relationship with money.

Photo of young woman paying bills on her laptop.

Financial Stress and Health

Financial stress can impact our health in a number of ways, including:

  • High blood pressure or cardiovascular disease
  • Gastrointestinal distress, including ulcers or digestive tract problems
  • Sleep problems
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Muscle tension or lower back pain
  • Relationship tension, which can lead to abusive relationships or divorce

Develop a Healthy Financial Mindset

It’s well known that small, positive behavior changes make a big difference over time. Just like someone who wants to lose weight starts by cutting 100 calories a day, a person who’s struggling financially can begin by saving five dollars a day. We’re much more likely to modify our behavior by taking small steps rather than trying to make large, immediate changes.

Steps to Getting on a Solid Financial Path

  • Maintain a budget and track your spending each month. Just like you would keep a food diary, write down all your revenue and expenses daily. Recording every single item makes you mindful of how much money you have and prevents mindless spending. Every dollar counts and will add up over time!
  • Live below your means. Just because you can afford to buy something doesn’t mean you should. Spending less than you have will help you grow your savings.
  • Regularly put money towards an emergency fund. Start by putting aside a small amount every month. Knowing you have this money on hand in a true emergency will help ease your mind.
  • Pay off credit card debt. Did you know that someone with credit card balance of $5,000 (with an APR at the national average) who makes only the minimum payment each month will be paying off that debt for 24 years! Even worse, according to the Federal Reserve’s online repayment calculator, that’s more than $7,000, just in interest.
  • Contribute to a 401(k) or IRA. And the sooner you start saving for retirement, the faster your account will grow. The reverse is also true — the longer you wait to get started, the more slowly your account will mature. As an added benefit, the money you contribute to a traditional 401K or IRA doesn't count toward your gross income for the year, so your taxable income is lowered.

    Here's a hypothetical example: 
    Say you contributed $5,000 a year to a 401(k) for 10 years. Let’s assume that your investment earned 8% interest per year and all investment earnings were reinvested into your account. Depending on how old you were when you made those contributions, you would see very different amounts at age 65 when you retire:
    • If you started saving at age 25 and stopped at age 35, your account would be worth about $787,000.
    • If you started at age 35 and stopped at age 45, it would be worth about $364,000.
    • If you started at age 45 and stopped at age 55, its value would only be about $170,000.
    • And, if you waited to start saving until age 55 and contributed until age 65, you'd only accumulate about $78,000.

Good Money Habits Pay Off 

The small steps we take each day add up over time and can further empower us to make bigger positive changes. With time and determination, you can improve your financial security, reduce money worries and have a healthier relationship with money. 

The information contained on this blog is intended for informational purposes only. Nothing contained, expressed or implied in this blog, is intended as medical advice nor should it be construed as such. This blog is not a substitute for professional medical advice, medical diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician or health care provider. It is not meant to and does not cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects and reliance on the information on this blog is at your own risk. Always talk to your doctor or other qualified health care provider about any concerns or questions you have about your medical care and do not disregard professional medical advice based on the information herein. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.