Money problems are real now more than ever especially due to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. People got laid off as companies struggled to stay afloat while multiple sectors of the Canadian and global economy took a hit from the pandemic.
As of May 2020, the Canadian unemployment rate was at 13.7%, the highest recorded since 1976.
Although Canadians showed exemplary resilience throughout the pandemic, we all worried about whether we would ever get ahead of our bills during and post-Covid.
Understandably, it is extremely difficult not to think and worry about money under such depressing circumstances.
In this article, you’ll discover that money anxiety is normal. However, it becomes problematic when it disrupts our everyday lives.
You’ll learn about the serious health implications of financial worries and how you can regain control of your finances and lead a healthy life again. But first:
What is Financial Stress?
Financial stress is worry, anxiety, or an overwhelming emotional tension that can be traced back to money. All extreme stress that is money-related is categorized as financial stress.
Debt, rent payment, mortgage, insurance, property tax, medical expenses, utility bills, and worrying you might get fired, are all categorized as financial stress. Canada family financial stress is a reality that can not be ignored.
Most low-income Canadians are no strangers to financial stress. The emotional effects of debt can be tormenting to your physical and mental health. It is critical to observe that you may be experiencing financial stress before it escalates to serious health conditions.
Data and research on financial stress
It comes as no surprise that a lot of Canadians are not happy with their finances. The government reports that Canadians are under intense pressure to keep up with their debts and other daily financial obligation.
A 2019 Statistics Canada survey established that the average Canadian household debt represented 177% of their disposable income. That is a steep rise from 166% the previous year.
According to the government, about 48 percent of Canadians reportedly lose sleep over debt. Another 44 percent of the population confesses that they’d be unable to meet their financial obligations if their pay delays.
Apparently, Canadians are worrying more about money than work, relationships, and personal health. The report cites difficulty keeping up with household expenses, crippling debts, unexpected expenditure, living paycheque to paycheque, and struggling to save money as the main causes of financial stress among most Canadians.
In 2021, we carried out a Personal Finance Survey to determine the financial wellness of the average Canadian. The findings were synchronous with previous similar surveys that painted a disheartening pattern of financial stress.
According to the survey, while 82% of Canadians admit to having financial goals, only 65% of this population is actively working towards achieving these goals. However, 65% of Canadians admitted that they needed help to achieve their financial goals. A whopping 54% confessed that they felt embarrassed about where they sat financially.
What Causes Financial Stress?
Several money-related factors can expose you to financial stress. We’ve mentioned some in the previous paragraphs and in the article about Financial Stress in Canadian workplaces. Here are some of the triggers of financial stress among individuals.
Losing a Job
Losing your job, for instance, may have you worrying about your bills and whether you may be able to maintain your current lifestyle. When you’re not sure where your next dollar will come from, you’re likely to experience financial anxiety which can even lead to depression and other medical conditions.
Being Unable to Find Another Job
Being unable to find a job can also cause financial stress. It’s one thing to get laid off or fired, it’s another to struggle to find another job. You can’t worry too much about a lost job when you can readily land another.
Inability to Settle Your Bills
Inability to pay your bills in time or pay them at all is every person’s nightmare and a probable cause for financial worries. There’s no way you can ignore not being able to pay your bills and continue living as usual.
This is also true for college students who must foot their bills as they study. College student financial stress is real and can even lead to studies disruption.
Worry About the Increased Cost of Living
Flashy news headlines hinting tough economic times ahead are likely to get anyone panicking because let’s face it – everything is rising and our wages are not keeping up. Worrying about the rising cost of living can cause money stress.
A Large Debt
Debt has serious emotional effects on people and is perhaps the biggest cause of financial stress. According to Debt.org, shortage and actual lack of money can cause a massive increase in anxiety. The organization further warns about the damage caused by the emotional strain of coping with debt.
Bankruptcy Canada has established that the main reason for bankruptcy among many folks is medical challenges. Most of us are “one illness away from poverty,” and it is a real concern that can drive anyone to financial stress if they keep worrying about it.
Spending beyond your means can deplete your accounts leaving you without money, in debt, and stressed. What can cause financial stress to one person may not necessarily do the same to the next person. Spending habits are like any habits a person adopt through time, changing bad habits sometimes require lifestyle changes, shift in mindset and most importantly, discipline and consistency.
Financial Depression Symptoms
Financial depression is a serious problem that should be discovered quickly before it morphs into something bigger and more disastrous. Here are some of the signs of financial stress to look out for before they negatively impact your life and that of the people around you:
Angry Arguments About Money
When you can’t stand a logical discussion about money with people around you then you could be experiencing financial stress.
If you are set off by normal discussion about money with people that handle your finances or those depending on you, then you should seek help immediately.
Lashing out when your partner reminds you that a utility bill is due is your cue to get help.
Financial stress can force you to retreat to a lonely life without friends, which only makes the anxiety worse. If you’re canceling social plans to be alone then you could be experiencing financial stress.
An active social life is critical in getting your life and finances back on track.
Dodging Creditors’ Calls and Mails
Creditors begin calling you when you default on your outstanding debt. A common sign of financial stress is dodging creditors’ calls and blocking any attempts to discuss your debt and setting up a new payment routine.
The Feeling of Shame and Embarrassment
In a capitalist society, wealth is considered the ultimate goal. As such, ‘society’ considers struggling with money a sign of failure. It is for this reason that we feel ashamed and embarrassed when we don’t have money.
When you start having this feeling, you could actually be experiencing the first symptoms of financial stress.
Feeling You’re Not in Control of Your Finances
Do you feel disorganized and completely out of control when it comes to personal finances? Would you rather not check your bills than confront them just to end up stressed? Hate to break it to you buddy, you’re merely procrastinating the problem.
Being Cynical and Hopeless About the Future
When you’re in deep financial distress it is hard to believe things will ever get better. Feeling hopeless and out of place is another major sign of money stress depression.
Cognitive dissonance is the clinical term for when a person’s core beliefs don’t align with their actions. Concerning financial stress, cognitive dissonance occurs when you feel guilty for spending money you believe should have been used for a better purpose. ‘Spend guilt’ if you will.
Some people indulge in unhealthy coping methods like drinking, drug abuse, gambling, et al.
The Health Implications of Financial Stress
Unfortunately, the symptoms of financial stress don’t stop there. If you’re not mindful, you could end up paying with your health.
There’s evidence that financial stress can indeed affect your overall quality of life. Worrying too much about money problems will take a toll on your physical health and possibly affect your relationship with people close to you.
Let’s delve into the health implications of financial stress.
Anxiety and Depression
For many people, money is a safety net and without it they’ll feel vulnerable. Worrying too much about your finances could lead to the inability to set aside restlessness and focus on productive activities.
You could be unable to focus at work, spend quality time with your family, or even keep up with your bills leading to more financial distress.
People with financial problems are twice as much likely to feel depressed. Living with persistent thoughts of money problems will dampen your mood leaving you feeling hopeless and unable to make sound life and financial decisions.
Money problems can keep you awake at night and compromise your physical health. While it seems harmless to cheat on the 7 to 9 hours of sleep recommendation by medical experts, not getting enough sleep can have catastrophic effects on your health.
Good sleep enhances your memory, improves your immune system, keeps you alert to focus on critical activities, better your mood, and increases exercise performance, among tons of other health benefits.
Poor mental health
Studies have shown a direct correlation between financial well-being and physical health. People with financial stress are more susceptible to mental health problems.
Other health effects of financial anxiety include:
- Poor physical health
- Delayed or poor healthcare
- Eating disorders
- Substance abuse
- Headaches, heart diseases, high blood pressure
- Panic attacks, et al
Ways to deal with financial stress
Highlighted below are some of the best ways to deal with financial stress.
Calm down, it’s not the end of the world
When you’re experiencing financial stress, you’ll be under the illusion that thinking about it all the time may help you come up with a solution. Nothing could be further from the truth. Try to relax, organize your thoughts, and come back later to brainstorm a practical way out.
Open up to someone
Bottling up your financial problems to yourself only serves the purpose of amplifying them until they seem impossible to resolve. Never feel awkward discussing your financial troubles with a third-party even when you’re sure they won’t help you get rid of them.
Create a strict budget
Having a budget makes you feel in control and the less you’ll feel stressed about your finances.
Find ways to make more money
If you’re feeling stressed about less money, you’ll likely feel better with more money streaming into your accounts. There’re several ways to earn more income. Figure out what works for you and go for it.
Create a stress-free environment
You can’t possibly solve your money problems overnight. While you work your way towards financial health, ensure you are in a conducive environment that works in your favor.
Eat healthy, practice relaxation techniques like yoga, and meditation, get plenty of sleep, and never skip a workout.
It is devastating to suffer from financial stress and you do not know what to do. Luckily, Marble platform is designed to give people the tools and guidance the regaining control of their financial life.
We use AI-powered data technology to help individuals read their spending habits, personalized recommendations on how to reach their financial goals, and learning platform/modules on financial literacy.
Feel free to consult our experts and utilize these readily available tools to get yourself to financial freedom.