Have you heard the term financial wellbeing?  No, we’re not talking about how ‘big’ your bank balance is, not specifically.  Financial wellbeing is far more to do with how secure and in control your finances are.

Terms like mental health or physical health are familiar, but financial health is often overlooked by many of us, when considering our overall wellbeing.  Perhaps we don’t consider it as important in comparison to other factors, but the reality is that financial worries have the potential to greatly affect our mental health. Not being able to manage bills, or seeing costs rising far more quickly than your income is a source of stress most of us recognise. 

While it may not seem as concerning, initially, as a poor diet, lack of physical activity or general low mood, the fact is that this type of worry can build up to a point at which it impacts our overall wellbeing.  Equally, experiencing mental health issues such as depression or anxiety can mean finances become a focal point for stress; it can go both ways. Unrelenting worry of any kind will impact stress and anxiety levels, our sense of safety and security, our relationships, our sleep, our physical health.  In other words, money worries are just as worthy of our attention as any other concern in our lives and within wider society, and yet, we so often overlook them.

I can’t make money from nothing! How can I improve my financial wellbeing?

Whilst it’s true, on some level, that the answer to money trouble is more money, it is never that simple or practical. Perhaps the question we ask should be more along the lines of ‘how can I use my money more wisely?’.  Many of us have never received a solid financial education, we don’t know how best to go about saving, managing a pension, the safest way to borrow money.  The organisations we work for also have a part to play; taking the time to ensure they are aware of financial wellbeing within teams, creating an environment where staff feel supported and able to ask for advice and know it’s ok to ask for help. We can all focus better if we are able to come to work with a mind free from financial concerns!

Small changes we can all make

If you are finding managing money difficult there are a few general suggestions we can make:

  • Have a budget - be aware of what is coming in and going out.
  • Save, regularly - whatever you can manage, however small, it all helps.
  • Pay off debts in manageable chunks.
  • Track bills and set up alerts on accounts to ensure you are aware if you are close to becoming overdrawn.
  • Avoid applying for credit cards/loans that you can’t afford or that come with high fees.

If you are still struggling, it may be time to seek support and advice, it could be from your employer, through an organisation such as Citizens Advice or from a Financial Advisor. 

It isn’t easy, managing financial stress, but with some planning, it is possible to make it a little easier.  Most importantly, know you are not alone, help is available.

For more ways to support and improve your wellbeing, sign up to our newsletter and have a listen to our How To Be Happy At Work podcast. We’ve got heaps of great advice and ideas from top wellbeing experts.