When it comes to taking care of our health, we tend to focus on the obvious. We exercise, watch our diets and obsess over the scale—all good steps—but we’re missing a big part of the picture if we focus only on these things. After all, physical, mental and emotional wellness are all intertwined.
Stress, in particular, is a chief culprit behind poor health. The impact of stress on our physical wellness is well documented. When we’re chronically stressed, the hormone cortisol—“public enemy No. 1”—floods our bodies. It suppresses immune function, disrupts metabolism, interferes with brain activity and contributes to health problems like headaches, high blood pressure, heart attacks, insomnia, ulcers, weight issues, depression and anxiety.
And the single biggest source of stress among Americans? You guessed it—money.
Managing Stress Means Managing Money
Financial concerns consistently rank among the top stressors for Americans, regardless of income level or economic climate. Almost one-third of Americans struggle with “constant” stress about money. That’s not surprising, considering the majority of Americans don’t have enough in savings to cover a $1,000 emergency.
Managing financial stress is thus a big part of staying healthy. A recent study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that financial wellness is the single most significant factor affecting how people perceive their overall wellness. It outweighs the impact of physical health, job satisfaction and personal relationships—combined.
Why Doing It All on Your Own Is So Difficult
For the average person, achieving financial well-being is an uphill battle. Even those who consider themselves financially savvy can feel lost when juggling priorities like maintaining their current lifestyle, establishing savings, planning for retirement and managing their debts.
Piecing it all together can feel like tackling a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle while blindfolded. And for married couples, differences in philosophies about money management add another layer of stress and complexity.
How a Financial Advisor Fits In
Many people have the misconception that only the wealthy need a financial advisor. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Why? Because smart, professional management is the key to financial wellness.
It’s tempting to think that having more income would solve all your financial problems. But it’s not that simple. Current income isn’t a predictor of financial well-being or success, according to the Journal of Consumer Research study referenced above. Instead, financial well-being depends on both present and future stability, which means:
Managing day-to-day finances with enough money on hand to meet your obligations and provide the freed to support your lifestyle
Staying on track with your long-term financial goals, including retirement, college savings and investment growth
Having financial resilience—especially the ability to withstand financial emergencies and unforeseen challenges (medical conditions, job loss, etc.)
A financial advisor can help you address all these considerations. Long-term financial planning plays a big role in overall well-being and satisfaction with life. Planning now can even improve your psychological well-being down the road, leading to fewer worries and stresses in retirement.
Just as you see your doctor regularly, so, too, should you seek professional guidance on your financial situation. Your health may depend on it.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Bruce Helmer, a founding member of Wealth Enhancement Group, has been the host of the “Your Money” Radio Show for more than 20 years. He is also featured weekly on the Twin Cities CBS affiliate WCCO, and has penned three financial advice publications.