- Employ simple strategies to enhance your financial wellness: focus on what you can control, eliminate comparisons, and start small
- Leverage financial wellness tools like a budget, high-yield savings account, and goal-setting, and seek professional guidance
A recent CNBC survey found that 70% of Americans are stressed about money, which is no surprise given the impact of inflation and market volatility!1 Some research has found that financial issues are a greater source of stress than work, family problems, and or even politics, and chronic stress is linked to a range of health concerns.2 Fortunately, finding ways to improve your financial health can also improve your mental health.
Simple Strategies for Financial Wellness
Improving your financial wellness can pay dividends in terms of your overall feelings of well-being and even your mental health. Here are a few tips we recommend.
Focus on what you can control
Pay attention to what you can affect. Track what you earn and spend each month or pay period. If you’re spending more than you earn, look for ways to cut back on unnecessary expenses. If you have a surplus at the end of the month, start saving and investing!
Get comfortable understanding your current money situation. Avoiding the reality of your finances can add to your stress—and it obscures opportunities to make small changes that add up over time.
Don’t compare yourself to others
As the saying goes: comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t compare your finances to someone else’s financial situation (or the story they tell on social media). Instead, assess your finances in light of your life, goals, and circumstances.
Instead of assigning moral value to your current financial habits—which can lead to feelings of guilt or shame—remember that money is a tool. You can decide how to use it and what it means in your life.
Start small and build momentum
Making large changes isn’t the only way to get your finances on track—and for many, big changes can make the process even more stressful.
If you’re in a position to do so, consider making regular—but reasonable—automatic contributions for the following:
- Debt repayments
- Emergency savings
- Retirement savings
Every dollar you save or put toward debt makes a difference!
Use Your Resources
When focusing on your financial and mental health, use all available resources! Leverage financial wellness tools like a budget, high-yield savings account, and goal-setting, and seek professional guidance.
Professional financial guidance—like advice on how to pay off debt or save for retirement—can reduce your financial worries.
Working with a professional helps increase your sense of control, enables you to make better-informed decisions, and can reduce uncertainty about your financial well-being. Since money can cause stress, advice that eases your anxiety can improve your mental health!
The best part is you don’t have to spend much money to get professional help. Low-cost and free resources exist. Look for financial counseling services and community organizations in your area to see what’s available, and check your local library for workshops on financial wellness.
What to Do Now
Take action—even if it’s a small step—to improve your finances and watch your overall well-being increase. Don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it!
Finally, remember that SMARTMap offers free access to our team of Financial Advocates. Set aside some time to talk with us about your retirement plan!
Prepared by a third-party.
1. Dhue, S., & Epperson, S. (2023, April 11). 70% of Americans are feeling financially stressed, new CNBC survey finds. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/04/11/70percent-of-americans-feel-financially-stressed-new-cnbc-survey-finds.html
2. Benisek, A. (2022, October 18). How can financial wellness affect your health?. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/how-can-financial-wellness-affect-your-health