John Smith (not his real name) began to receive collection phone calls after he went from a two-income household down to a one-income one. Then, John lost his job when his employer needed to reorganize. If that wasn’t bad enough, his wife took his hunting dog when she left. Yes, John is having a country music kind of year.
The thing about not being able your bills is how it can affect you. You start losing sleep, you don’t eat as much, and on many days, you just don’t feel like getting out of bed. John is suffering from financial stress.
The effects of financial stress
Research has shown that money worries contribute to health concerns. Some of these health issues related to living with financial stress include:
- Mental health: Depression, hopelessness and anxiety. Lack of sleep can lead to health problems.
- Unhealthy behaviors: Overeating, smoking and drinking, but also skipping the gym and doctor visits.
- Metabolic syndrome: This group of conditions put you at risk for diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
- Inability to think clearly: Your money worries consume your mind. And chronic stress has been shown to eat away at brain tissue.
The cure for financial stress
The best way to relieve the symptoms of financial stress is to improve your financial situation. But how do you do that? Realistically, it’s going to be dependent on your particular situation. Some steps to take that may help your situation:
- Make your budget: Even if you don’t like it, make a budget to get an accurate picture of your finances. Follow this budget to gain control of your spending.
- Create an emergency fund: You’ll want to set aside money to cover your unexpected expenses like car repairs, appliance issues, doctor co-pays and such.
- Determine what changes you can make: Are you or your spouse overspending? Could you make more money? Could you trim small expenses like your latte or Netflix?
- Get professional help: This is the route John should take. An experienced financial professional can guide John through his best options. If Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, collection calls will immediately cease and a clean financial slate will ease his fears.
These steps can lead John to financial peace and lead him out of debt and stress and into a life worth living. Remember, your mission in life isn’t to just survive, but to thrive.