Follow our tips for how to alleviate financial stress, your heart will thank you
February is the shortest month of the year, but one of the most important. Not only is it a time to shower those we love with gifts, it’s also American Heart Month, where we can focus on our heart health. This February, take the opportunity to give yourself a gift – one that will warm your heart and make you feel better too. Commit to taking care of yourself with self-care. We know when we take care of ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally, socially and practically, we are stronger and better able to help others, according to the Health Coach Institute.[i] Added benefits including being more present in our jobs and better prepared to handle life’s stressors.
What does this mean for our finances? As a financial advisor, I see the stress my clients experience when they don’t have a financial roadmap. It can lead to impulsive decision making, less savings and security, out of control spending or debt. US News reports having a financial plan is even more important during times of uncertainty. Without a solid financial plan, it is impossible to keep your head up when unemployment, high inflation or a recession hits, the article states.[ii] I recommend my clients have an emergency fund to handle a job loss or other unexpected expense like medical bills.
Self-care is important and filters into financial care and daily life.
If those reasons aren’t motivational enough, research also shows when your financials aren’t in order, it raises your stress levels, which can affect heart health. Financial stress can lead to heart troubles. According to heart.org,[iii] 84% of U.S. adults report feeling stressed about money. When we are stressed, it sets off a chain of events where your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to speed up and your blood pressure to rise.[iv]
Luckily, there are ways to alleviate the stress of financial uncertainty. By taking control and developing a financial plan, we can feel confident we are addressing ways to pay off debt and save for the future. In addition, it provides a way to map out short-term and long-term goals and a way to get there. Whether it’s speeding payoff of student loans, saving for a house or children/grandchildren’s college, and/or retirement, following a strategy will reduce stress.
During February and all year long, experts recommend you pay attention to your stress levels and take steps to manage it, where possible. Consider taking a walk in nature, shutting down your electronics and meditating, playing with your pet, listening to calming music or getting your endorphins pumping with a cardio workout. Your heart and your wallet will thank you!
In coming months, I will discuss a great way to get your family involved in your financial planning with a Family Love Letter. Stay tuned for our next update!
Katy Ufferman (ChFC) is a chartered financial consultant with Maxwell Financial Management and leads the firm’s practice dedicated to helping women with their investments and retirement planning.