Welcome to the fourth article in the series ‘Are You Spending Your Health on Wealth?’ Where today I’m exploring how to find financial stress relief. Read the first article here, the second post here, and third here.
In prior weeks I covered ways in which you could embrace, reduce, manage, or relieve workplace stress. Today I’ll discuss the implications – both bad and good – of personal finances on stress.
Exercise, eating a healthy diet, obtaining the proper amount of sleep, good management of finances, and social engagement with others all protect against stress. Whereas being in lots of debt, eating a poor diet, not getting adequate sleep, or being ill, leaves people more vulnerable to stress.
When we’re stressed, we may lose our restraints more quickly or tend to want to ‘reward’ ourselves and end up wasting money and eating more junk food. We lose sleep, ignore relationships or get involved in toxic ones, and often get sicker as a result. All this leads to more stress and vulnerability. It becomes a vicious circle.
What does this have to do with workplace stress and golden handcuffs? I see it as all inter-related.
Master Your Money for Financial Stress Relief
If your finances are in order – i.e. no debt, a fully funded emergency/opportunity account, retirement savings accounts established and contributions maxed annually, a positive net worth, investments for passive income, etc. – in other words, financially independent or close to it, you create the freedom to unchain yourself from a job causing you unmanageable stress.
Significant amounts of debt, little to no cash savings or retirement account savings, negative or minimal net worth, and no additional income sources, chains you to your job. Whether your job brings you great amounts of stress or not. Even if you love your job, you are handcuffed to it to pay the bills when you aren’t financially secure.
This may leave you unable to do other things in life more important to you than your job. Travel, starting your own business, helping others, relocating to a warmer state, taking an extended break from work, changing careers, etc.
The pressure of having to keep your job causes more stress, which in turn tends to create additional health issues, weight gain, sleepless nights, irritability, depression, and more. The stress accumulates, and the cycle continues.
Studies of Financial Stress
Financial stress is a leading concern for many.
A survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers finds – “Fifty-three percent of all employees are stressed about their finances. Those who are stressed are more likely to be distracted by their finances at work, miss work on account of their personal financial issues, and cite health issues caused by financial stress.”
Guardian found similar results in their 4th Annual Workplace Benefit Study. This study asked participants to rate their attitudes in three different areas – financial wellness, physical wellness, and emotional wellness. The Workforce Well-Being Index utilized in the survey uses a 1 – 5 rating scale. The average WWBI rating was only 3.26 out of 5, and for financial wellness, the rating was just 3.19, the lowest of the three areas.
American workers feel less confident about achieving their financial goals, with success self-ratings worsening from two years ago by nearly 15%-30% on the main measures such as:
- Saving for college education (-27%)
- Replacing income if seriously ill or injured (-24%)
- Saving for retirement (-20%)
- Protecting family with adequate life insurance (-17%)
The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) Workforce Study, of workers in U.S. and Canada, revealed workers are struggling over:
- Debt (66 % of respondents)
- Saving for retirement (60%)
- Saving or paying for children’s education (51%)
- Covering basic living expenses (48%)
- Paying for medical expenses (36%)
Changing the Cycle
Only you can break the cycle. Are you done with too much workplace stress in your life? Are you ready for financial stress relief? Studies show taking control of one’s financial situation instead of letting it control them leads to decreased stress, feelings of confidence, and greater well-being.
“One in five workers reports feeling high levels of stress, and the top two drivers for this are economic: their jobs and their financial situations. In the latter, access to retirement plans and retirement readiness seem to play positive roles.” ~ Donn Hess, Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing/Communications for Lockton Retirement Services
Finding financial stress relief and getting on the right path to financial independence involves following some simple steps, such as: spend less than you earn, eliminate and avoid personal debt, have savings set aside for unplanned or emergency expenses, invest for your future, create forms of additional and passive income, and stop buying stuff!
Some of the things my husband and I’ve done to simplify our life and finances include:
– Buying a home at almost 50% less cost than what the so-called experts said we could afford
– Stopped driving sexy vehicles
– Cooking nearly 100% of our meals at home
– Exchanging gifts of time spent together instead of things
– Using the library for free reading of books and videos
– Cutting the TV cable cord
– Finding inexpensive entertainment options such as free concerts, card and board games, hiking and exploring new towns
– Upcycling and DIY projects instead of buying new items
– Celebrating at home with family and friends instead of meeting at restaurants
– Shopping local and generic
Find Financial Stress Relief
Break the cycle of stress. Take control of your career, take control of your finances, and take control of your life. We’ve taken many steps to achieve financial independence. Will you do the same? While we are still in the pursuit of it, we’ve already alleviated much stress from our lives, and the workplace no longer chains us so tightly.
Start with just one thing today, such as increasing your retirement savings contributions or packing your lunch every day this week. Find additional ways to save and decrease expenses each as you go. The savings will accumulate, the debt will decrease, and you’ll feel more secure and well.
Morning Routine to Reduce Stress and Increase Productivity, by Darou Wellness
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series and found takeaways to lessen workplace stress and find financial stress relief, creating more control over of your future.
Let us know in the comments if you think financial independence can reduce workplace stress? What steps have you taken to achieve financial independence? Do you have any advice for others in managing their stress or their careers?