Money and Mental Health: The Struggles We Don’t Talk About

by 10 Oct 2023Money Management

So, your portfolio’s doing great, or maybe you’re just keeping your head above water. Either way, how’s your mental state? Let’s look at the often-ignored relationship between mental health and financial stability, which doesn’t discriminate based on your tax bracket.

The Financial-Mental Health Tug of War

Whether you’re raking it in or living paycheck to paycheck, financial stress can take a toll. According to Beyond Blue, “people experiencing financial challenges are twice as likely to also be experiencing mental health challenges.”

The Fallacy of “Enough”

Here’s the kicker: If you’re earning a substantial income, societal norms dictate that you shouldn’t be stressed about money. But who says high earners don’t face challenges? Living expenses have skyrocketed, and interest rates are on the rise. High earners often carry higher debt, making them acutely sensitive to financial market fluctuations.

From Earnings to Expenses

Money and Mental Health UK reveals, “86% said their financial situation had made their mental health worse.” From car loans and mortgages to business investments and school fees, the financial stressors may differ in magnitude but the mental impact remains significant, across income levels.

The Parental Money Mindset: How it Echoes in Our Kids

Parents are the first role models children have, and their attitudes toward money can significantly influence how kids view finances and, by extension, their mental health. Whether a family is struggling to make ends meet or perpetually chasing greater wealth, the impact on children can be profound and long-lasting.

The Stress of Scarcity

When parents are consistently worried about finances, this stress doesn’t go unnoticed by their children. Kids are highly perceptive and can absorb the tension in the household, leading to feelings of anxiety or guilt. According to the American Psychological Association, “Kids report feeling stress and anxiety, guilty for not being able to help, and embarrassed about being unable to afford what their peers can.” This early exposure to financial stress can create long-term mental health challenges and can foster a scarcity mindset that haunts them into adulthood.

The Chase for More: Never Enough

At the other end of the spectrum, parents who are high earners but are constantly chasing more money send a different, yet equally damaging message: that you should never be content and that worth is tied to financial success. The endless pursuit of more can lead to a household where downtime or rest is considered “unproductive,” laying the groundwork for future workaholism and mental health strains like burnout and anxiety disorders in children.

The Intergenerational Echo

As Psychology Today points out, “Those early childhood beliefs often drive our adult financial behaviours.” Parents’ attitudes toward money, whether it’s scarcity-driven or abundance-oriented, create a mental framework that kids often carry into their adult lives. They become ingrained habits and thought patterns that dictate financial decisions, and by extension, contribute to their mental well-being.

Mitigating the Impact: A Balanced Approach

It’s crucial to strike a balance and show children that while money is essential, it’s not the be-all and end-all. Teach them the value of saving and spending wisely but also instill the importance of happiness, emotional intelligence, and mental health.

The Long-Run Effects

The parental money mindset doesn’t just influence children’s future earning capacity or financial choices; it also impacts their long-term mental health. Understanding these generational patterns can offer valuable insights, empowering you to break the cycle and create a healthier financial and mental environment for your family.

By addressing and understanding the impact of your attitudes toward money, you can foster a healthier financial and emotional atmosphere at home—benefitting not just you, but the generations that follow.

Taking Action: Universal Steps for Better Financial and Mental Well-Being

1. Audit Your Finances

Regardless of your income, knowing your financial landscape is the first step to managing stress.

2. Build a Safety Net

An emergency fund can serve as a mental comfort, no matter how much you earn.

3. Be Smart with Investments

From diversification to understanding market trends, make your money work for you.

4. Mental Health Check-ins

Track your mental state as diligently as your financial portfolio. Ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s dangerous.

5. Seek Professional Help

Advisors and therapists can offer strategies tailored to your unique challenges, whether financial or mental. If you’re after financial advice, you know where to find us. 

Money and Feelings Go Together, No Matter Who You Are

Think about money like a tool in a toolbox. Just like a hammer or screwdriver, money helps us do things. But, using a tool the wrong way can sometimes hurt us, right? Money works the same way. If we don’t know how to use it well, it can make us feel stressed or worried, no matter how much we have.

Some people think that having a lot of money will solve all their problems. That’s not true. Even people with lots of money can feel stressed. Why? Because they worry about how to keep growing it or how to use it the right way. Just having money doesn’t mean you’ll always be happy or relaxed.

But here’s the good news. We can learn better ways to use our money and also how to feel better in our minds. It’s like learning to use that tool in a safe and helpful way. Simple steps like checking how much we spend or talking to a friend when we feel low can help us a lot. And if things feel really hard, it’s okay to ask for help from people who know about money and mental health.

So, let’s stop thinking some people have it easy just because they have more money. Let’s also stop feeling bad about asking for help or talking about money and how we feel. Whether you have a little money or a lot, we all have the same types of worries and hopes. By talking about it and learning more, we can make both our money and our feelings better.

Remember, you’re not just a bunch of numbers on a paper. You’re a real person with feelings. And it’s okay to care about both your money and how you feel. By taking small steps to make both better, you can have a good life in every way.

Where to get help:

Money Help in Australia

1. ASIC’s MoneySmart – Offers free tips and tools to help you make informed financial decisions.

– Website: moneysmart.gov.au

2. National Debt Helpline – Provides free professional financial counselling.

– Website: ndh.org.au

– Phone: 1800 007 007

3. Financial Counselling Australia – Another great place for free financial counselling.

– Website: financialcounsellingaustralia.org.au

Mental Health Resources in Australia

1. Beyond Blue – Provides information and support for everyone in Australia to achieve their best mental health.

– Website: beyondblue.org.au

– Phone: 1300 22 4636

2. Lifeline – A crisis support service that’s available 24/7.

– Website: lifeline.org.au

– Phone: 13 11 14

3. Headspace – Offers tailored advice for young people aged 12-25.

– Website: headspace.org.au

4. SANE Australia – Focuses on people living with complex mental health issues.

– Website: sane.org

– Phone: 1800 187 263

5. MindSpot – Offers free online mental health assessments and treatment courses.

– Website: mindspot.org.au

Whether you’re sorting your money or your feelings, these resources can be a great starting point. You don’t have to go it alone; help is out there.

 

Important information: This information is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular financial needs, circumstances and objectives. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, it is not guaranteed. You should obtain professional advice before acting on the information contained in this publication.

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Kylie is the Yin to Anthony’s Yang.

With a Diploma in Financial Planning, she’s spent over 25 years in the financial services industry, using her knowledge and skills to successfully weave an adoration of style and travel, alongside business, into her life.

While Kylie brings experience and knowledge from brands like ANZ, HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, she also brings heart and inspiration to Creo Wealth. This shows in how she manages the Creo Wealth team who feel appreciated by Kylie (oh, and Anthony too!)

But Kylie’s heart and inspiration doesn’t stop there. She’s a huge spender and certifiable shoe addict. This, along with her upbringing, means Kylie truly understands how hard it is to get in touch with your money story.

She’s on a mission to educate people to help them understand their money story. And then give them the tools to begin rewriting it. Kylie loves to use her stylish shoes to kick-start people’s confidence to set and reach their financial goals.

And the fun part for Kylie?

She always looks classy when she challenges Anthony for that last M&M.