For most people, talking about money is embarrassing or just not socially appropriate. We often stay silent about how much our finances are impacting our overall mental health.
Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Jonathan Carter, CPA, CMA of KATA Accounting Solutions Professional Corporation shares some important information about how money impacts people’s state of mind and what can be done to ease that stress.
Money Commonly Affects People’s Mental Health
According to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, money and mental health challenges are often closely linked. In fact, 48% of Canadians report that they have experienced trouble sleeping because of finances. Things like household expenses, high debt levels, limited savings, and unplanned expenses can cause high levels of stress and worry. Financial stress can cause serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety as well as physical health issues like high blood pressure and heart disease.
“Money is a tool that helps us to get what we need or want, but it can also cause people emotional pain. People can feel a wide range of emotions when it comes to money, including guilt, fear, hope, and shame. Understanding how you feel about money is really the first step to your own financial empowerment,” Jonathan explains.
“After you acknowledge how money is making you feel, you can take steps to make better financial decisions.”
The Emotions of Money
Everyone has complicated emotions when it comes to money.
It is common for people to feel terrible when they think of their financial state and those feelings are not often based on anything but assumptions and fear. For many people, these negative emotions can get in the way of seeking out professional financial advice.
Jonathan explains that people often make important financial decisions based on emotions, rather than on facts. “People can be hopeful that a lottery win will solve their financial problems, but hope is not a reliable investment strategy. Fear, shame, and guilt are also not helpful motivations when dealing with money,” he says.
Changing How We Feel About Money
Speaking with a qualified and trusted accountant can be a significant first step towards reducing the amount of stress that finances are causing.
Instead of listening to broad advice on social media or unqualified tips from friends and family, it is useful to get personalized recommendations from someone who knows your own unique financial situation. Asking for help can be difficult, but it is worthwhile.
“Frankly, there are many people who are ashamed to ask for help. They think that they are unintelligent if they don’t know the answers already or they assume that they are in too much financial trouble for anyone to help them,” says Jonathan. “Finding the courage to trust a qualified accountant and ask for help can make a big difference for your mental health.”
While confronting difficult feelings towards money can be uncomfortable, doing so can ultimately help you to reduce the emotional burden.