Are you stressed out, irritable, or not sleeping? For many of us there is a real possibility that money problems may be damaging our health.
According to the American Psychological Association 2011 Survey on Stress in America: Our Health at Risk, seventy five percent of people attribute their stress to money. And, many people “manage” stress in unhealthy ways, including smoking, overeating, watching TV and playing video games.
Stress reduction usually focus on the symptoms not causes. Exercise, healthy eating, relaxation and meditation can help you manage stress but to really kick money stress out of your life you need stronger medicine.
Financial Planning Can Make you Healthier
To experience true wellness, you need to address your money concerns directly. A little Financial Planning can be the stress buster you are looking for! Financial Planning creates an Awareness of your money, helps you take constructive Action with regards to your money and creates an Accountability structure for your money issues.
Becoming more aware of your money– may sound stressful in the abstract, but the process of gathering facts can actually make you feel more powerful. Try these three awareness activities and see how you feel:
1. Calculate your net worth, what you own and what you owe. Even if is the results are negative, you will start to feel more in-control just knowing the worst.
2. Track your expenses for 3 months. Focusing on how you spend your money is like looking into the mirror of your life. What does your spending say about your goals and the life you want to live?
3. Write down all your life goals, monetary and non-monetary. Have your spouse/partner do the same by themselves. Compare notes. How are you doing?
Once you start gathering the facts an inevitable sense of control starts to creep in. You are now ready to start taking actions that will put you on a new path. Here are five actions that can put you on solid financial footing:
1. Focus on spending less than you earn.
2. Tackle consumer and non-mortgage debt.
3. Create an emergency fund of 6 to 12 months expenses.
4. Start saving for goals including retirement.
5. Start saving for your dreams.
Being accountable to your goals and your strategies is key to successful financial planning. Start by writing down your goals and your plans. Next share them with a trusted friend, support group or a financial planner. Revisit your plans and your progress regularly. Sign up for this blog! Sharing your journey with others helps you stay on track.
Start improving your health and your financial future today by attacking the root cause of your stress, your money! Soon you will be able to let go of your stress and experience the ahh moment when your financial fears are replaced by optimism about creating a better financial future.