- Money worries are a major source of stress.
- They can lead to relationship problems, physical health problems, and mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety.
- You can minimize the impact of financial stress by taking care of your health and seeking support from loved ones or professionals.
- There are many services offering everything from emergency assistance (if you are in crisis) to emotional and practical support.
How does financial stress affect my health?
Money worries are a major source of stress and can lead to relationship problems, depression, or anxiety.
Some signs that financial stress is affecting your health and relationships include:
- Arguing about money with those closest to you
- difficulty sleeping
- Feeling angry, fearful, or having mood swings
- tiredness, pain
- Stay away from others
- Feel guilty when you spend money
- Delaying the medical care you need because of cost
While these are normal reactions to financial stress, if they persist for more than a few weeks, they can affect your health. You may be at risk for anxiety or depression. Some people use drugs or alcohol to help them cope. Some people have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
What causes financial stress?
Financial problems are very common.
They can be caused by:
- laid off
- Lost in finding enough jobs
- Have unpayable debt
- Worry about expected financial pressures
Some people's financial problems may be caused by a gambling problem.
What can I do to minimize the health effects of financial stress?
If financial stress is affecting your health and relationships, here are some tips to help you get through this difficult time:
- Understand your emotions – Write down your concerns to help you decide which ones to address first.
- Take care of your health – eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly. If you have a medical condition that may be worsened by stress, talk to your doctor.
- Share your feelings with supportive friends - Identify people you can talk to about your feelings and who will help you stay positive.
- Be honest with your family – tell them about the situation and how it might affect the family budget. If your relationship with your partner is under stress.
- Write a Budget – Write a summary of your financial situation and include how much money you need to pay for each of your professional expenses. You may need to temporarily limit your spending. Set aside some money to pay bills, create an emergency fund and pay for essentials first to help relieve stress.
- Contact your bank — Most financial institutions have policies in place to help customers experiencing financial problems. There is a wealth of information available online about dealing with banks and how to get help if you encounter financial difficulties.
If I lose my job, what can I do to help my situation?
- Assess your financial situation – Calculate how much money you have and how long you can sustain it. You may have to change your spending habits until you get back on track. Try not to use credit cards. Over time, high interest rates and repayments can increase your financial stress.
- Know your rights - these may depend on your circumstances, and there are waiting periods for some benefits.
- If you owe money, contact your bank or financial institution - you may need to discuss different repayment options.
- Contact your superannuation fund - you may be able to access your superannuation early or receive benefit entitlements if you are made redundant.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there are many services available that offer everything from emergency assistance in times of crisis to emotional and practical support.
Resources and Support
Financial stress can trigger or worsen mental health conditions in some people. If you are feeling depressed or anxious about your condition, it is important to seek support to reduce the risk of this happening to you.
If you are feeling stressed, talk to your doctor or other trusted health professional to discuss your situation and how you are feeling.