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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Carberry

Financial wellbeing and your health

We all know that to live a healthy lifestyle, you have to eat well and exercise regularly… but another important element of the healthy life model is your financial wellbeing.

If your finances are under the weather, then it’s possible that you could experience some related physiological or psychological symptoms.

Poor financial health can manifest itself in physical ailments or emotional issues. And if left unchecked it could lead to relationship troubles and even spill over into your professional life.

Improving your financial position can help reduce stress and support your overall health. Today we take a closer look at financial wellbeing.

What is financial wellbeing?

So, what exactly do we mean when we say ‘financial wellbeing’? The term refers to more than just the balance of your bank account and the regular income you earn… it encompasses how much financial security you have and if you are free to make choices without scrutinising every cent you spend. Can you meet your expenses and still have some money available to save? Do you feel as though you are in control of your finances? Are you confident that your long-term financial goals are achievable? The answers to these questions will give you a good indication of your financial wellbeing.

If you feel secure and don’t have to worry too much about paying your bills or whether you will have enough for retirement, then chances are your financial health is in good shape. Your financial wellbeing will fluctuate… for example when you start a family or you change jobs, or even during the countdown to retirement. It’s normal for your situation to change over your lifetime.

Health impacts Think about how you feel when you are in a solid financial position. Feeling safe, secure and stable is a core human need and can help support an optimistic outlook and, in turn, a healthy lifestyle. Being relaxed and confident about your future helps to create a positive mental state. Unsurprisingly, the opposite can be detrimental to your health. Financial worries can lead to a variety of mental health complaints such as stress, anxiety or depression, or insomnia. And each of these can in turn lead to physical symptoms. Your appetite can be impacted as can your blood pressure and even your heart health. Plus, financial stresses can also impact your relationships… especially if you are experiencing emotional instability, behavioral changes or erratic mood swings. While taking control of your financial position could help improve this, we also recommend seeking professional medical advice if you have deeper concerns.

Taking control If your financial wellbeing isn’t as healthy as you’d like, there are various improvement steps you can start today. Embracing some new habits can set you on the right path and help you feel on top of your money matters.

  • Use a budget – it doesn’t matter how much you earn, it’s more about how much you spend and save. Write down all your expenses over the last three months (be completely honest) and see where your money is really going. Once you have a thorough understanding of where you spend, you can find opportunities to save.

  • Avoid auto-spending – there are so many ‘efficient’ payment options now, and from PayPass to PayPal, it’s all about transaction speed. But with that speed comes auto-pilot and the ability to not really notice when you spend your money. Reducing your tendency to wave your card and go will help reduce your incidental expenses.

  • Reduce debt – if you have any credit card or personal loan debt, try to reduce this sooner rather than later. These debts tend to have higher interest rates and can easily become burdensome if you have an unforeseen financial setback.

  • Invest – long-term investments, including superannuation, are great for supporting your peace of mind. In the current low interest rate environment, investments may provide a more substantial return and even the compounding of small investments makes a remarkable difference over a long period of time.

  • Insurance – personal insurances such as life insurance or income protection can give you the extra security you need to feel completely safeguarded against the unexpected. Knowing you and your family are covered should something happen can help you sleep soundly at night.

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