How Financial Stress Affects your Health (and what you can do about it)
While the obvious impacts of being broke involve not being able to pay bills and not having the freedom to do the things we like, there’s something that’s not as commonly addressed: our health. Let’s face it, financial abundance provides an enormous amount of freedom and peace of mind. When our finances are strained, on the other hand, we’re not only stressed out, but it becomes more challenging to do things like eat well, pay for healthcare, and even get a good night's sleep.
Believe it or not, stress is extremely taxing on our bodies and can lead to various health issues. These include migraines, obesity, and can ultimately lead to issues like diabetes, heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses. Money problems can also cause us to delay or cut out our healthcare, but cutting out good healthcare can potentially lead to even worse problems and further debt. Financial instability can also have an impact on our mental health and cause us to do things like binge eat or abuse drugs and alcohol. Studies show that anxiety and depression run high among people who are seriously in debt.
Before we continue further down the rabbit hole of doom, gloom, and despair, though, let’s look at what we can do to reduce the negative impacts of financial stress. Furthermore, let’s examine how we can regain control of our lives and our finances so that they no longer control us. We are well aware that everyone’s circumstances are different and some are certainly more dire than others, but a shift in perspective is often all that’s needed to establish a more positive outlook. And while positivity might not sound like a valid solution to your financial woes, particularly if you’re feeling completely helpless, just trust us here. Give some of these tricks a try.
- Get some financial clarity. Gain clarity over your debt, your spending habits, how you budget, if you budget, and what your money going out and coming in looks like. So many people don’t do this, but it is so important. If you’re not in the habit of managing your finances, then this might seem really daunting at first, but it doesn’t need to be. And don’t feel like you have to tackle everything at once. Start small – for the first month, try recording your spending using an app like iExpense it or similar. That’s it. Don’t even worry about budgeting, recording money coming in, or anything else for the first month unless you feel like it or you’re already tracking your money out. Whatever this looks like for you, just try adding one new money managing action for the first month. Then, month by month, start adding to this. What this will do is begin to give you a clearer snapshot of how you’re spending and managing your finances. You’ll not only get out of financial vagueness which may very well be the root cause of your stress, but you’ll have more respect for your money.
- Meditate. And exercise. Yep, that’s right. Your mind and body health contribute heavily to your stress levels and if you’re not taking care of yourself mentally or physically, financial stress can easily cause you to spiral out much faster. This also ties into financial clarity in a sense because when your brain is firing on all cylinders (thanks to the dopamine boost you gain from physical exercise and the mental clarity from meditation), you’re in a better headspace. This can help you to sit down and focus on creating things like spending plans and budgets, thus enabling you to determine where you can cut your spending, and perhaps even where you can afford to treat yourself. Treating oneself, by the way, should be an important part of everyone’s spending plan.
- Come up with ways to generate additional income. There are plenty of ways to generate extra cash if you start thinking outside the box. Do you have any marketable skills, such as writing or light graphic design? Offer to help someone write their resume, or design a new logo for their small business. You don’t have to charge a lot of money for these if you’ve never offered them professionally, but if all goes well, it could turn into a booming side business. And if not, at least you’ll earn a little extra cash in the process. Sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and 99Designs are all great resources for freelancers interested in all of the above. List a room for rent in your house on Airbnb if your city allows it, participate in online focus group surveys (yes, many of these pay!), sell your old stuff on eBay or Craigslist, or become an Uber driver.
- Consider getting outside help. If you can afford an accountant or a financial advisor (and you don’t already have either), they can actually end up saving you loads of cash in the long run. Most of us have busy lives and so many things to tend, and finances are often the last thing we want to worry about. But keeping our money matters organized is so critical when it comes to planning our lives and making sure we’re saving enough to pay our bills, set aside for retirement - stuff like that. Financial professionals can help us determine the areas where we can maybe cut back so that we’re setting more money aside for the important stuff. And a lot of times, these little tweaks simply involve making our coffee at home on most days instead of stopping at the coffee shop on the way to work, or joining a cheaper gym. They don’t have to have major impacts on our lives, but these tweaks CAN have significant impacts on our finances. If you’re someone who really struggles with money and it’s something that causes intense fear and anxiety, support groups like Debtors Anonymous (DA) can be profoundly helpful for many. DA is based on the twelve steps and it’s totally free. While it’s not for everyone, it’s worth looking into if you feel like you’ve reached an emotional breaking point with your money issues.
Getting stuck in cycles of debt can wreak havoc on our lives and can also cause us to fall behind on our taxes. Unfortunately, the IRS is not very forgiving. While we might be able to get away with not paying certain bills, at least for a little while, our IRS debt isn’t going to be one of those bills. The good news is that even if you do fall behind on your taxes (as so many Americans do), it’s never too late to regain control of your financial situation. And once you regain control over your finances, we’re here to help you manage your IRS debt. While you cannot ignore the IRS, they’re 100% willing to work with taxpayers who make an effort to address their tax issues and they generally work with you based on your circumstances.
It can be daunting trying to navigate your way through all of the various nuanced guidelines and qualifications for different payoff arrangements, and that’s where we come in. At USA Tax Settlement, we want to help you come to an arrangement with the IRS that’s manageable for you, and we’re not going to charge you an arm and a leg to do it. So, first things first, take a deep breath, start getting some clarity over your numbers, and maybe get a little side hustle going. Then, give us a shout so that we can get you back on track and sleeping like a baby, free from nightmares of Uncle Sam coming and towing your whole house away on a flatbed truck. Of course, this probably isn’t going to happen regardless, but wouldn’t it be nice to just rid yourself of these stresses, once and for all?