Experiencing financial strain can make you feel like you’re carrying a heavy weight on your shoulders. It’s hard to enjoy life and just be carefree. When your mind is constantly on money problems, it’s hard to think about anything else. Financial stress is not only bad for your mind but also your body. Too much strain in this area can have a negative impact on your mental and physical health, according to the experts at Cambridge Credit Counseling Corporation:
If you constantly find yourself consumed with how much money you have (or don’t) and how you’re going to keep a roof over your head, get to work, and possibly feed your family, then you could certainly develop one of several stress-related health conditions. If these conditions go unnoticed or untreated, it could even result in very serious, sometimes life-threatening illnesses.
Are you experiencing too much strain when it comes to your finances? Here are five signs that you’re under too much financial stress.
1. Anxiety and depression
Worries about personal finances can make you anxious and cause you to avoid the phone for fear of collection calls from debt collectors. A recent study also found that significant financial stress could even send you into a depression. The study showed that a 10% increase in short-term debt was associated with a 24% rise in depression symptoms. If you are experiencing financial difficulty and find yourself filled with anxiety and experiencing significant feelings of sadness that won’t seem to lift, this may be an indication that you are carrying too much finance-related stress. A few sessions with a financial therapist may help you manage the symptoms of debt-related depression.
2. Overdue bills
One of the first signs that you are buckling under financial stress is that your bills start to fall behind. As soon as you think you may be late with a bill, contact your lender. You may be able to work out a payment plan or change your loan terms. Also work on developing a budget. If you don’t currently have one, you’re not alone. You may actually have enough money to pay for your bills. The real problem could be that you’re overspending. Once you make an effort to keep a close eye on spending and stick to a budget each month, you may find it easier to meet your monthly obligations.
One reaction that some people have when they are feeling financially strained is to spend more money. Credit cards sometimes become a means to soothe the discomfort that results from not having enough to make ends meet. Credit can become a tool to help you forget your financial problems by delaying the negative financial impact and providing a false sense of financial security. However, the credit card bill eventually comes along and destroys this fantasy. If you’re starting to overspend and drown your sorrows in credit, it’s time to face your financial demons and cut back on the spending. A financial support group can help you get back on track. Three groups to consider are Debtors Anonymous, Shopaholics Anonymous, and Underearners Anonymous.
4. Strained relationships
One of the top arguments couples have is about finances. If you’re noticing that you and your partner are fighting more about money, this may also be another clue about the state of your financial health. Money trouble can also be the source of fighting among friends and family. This is especially true when it comes to expectations surrounding lending money and the difficulties that come with the ability to repay the loan. Approximately 57% of people said they have seen a friendship or relationship ruined because of failure to repay the loan, according to a recent money etiquette survey.
5. Living check to check
Once you get to a point where you’re just making it from check to check, you’re in trouble. Many Americans are finding themselves in this predicament. Roughly 63% of Americans do not have an emergency savings fund for expenses such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair, according to Bankrate. Those faced with an emergency said they would scrape together the cash by reducing spending somewhere else (26%), ask family or friends for a loan (16%), or use credit (12%).
More from Money & Career Cheat Sheet:
- 5 Tips for Managing Financial Stress
- Debt-Related Depression is Real: Are You in Over Your Head?
- 5 Things to Know Before You Lend Money to Friends and Family