The Mid Atlantic Fund

Financial Literacy -A Shield Against Life’s Storms

In this blog, we delve deeper into the connection between financial literacy and mental health. We explore how financial knowledge can serve as a shield against life’s storms, protecting us from stress, anxiety, and relationship problems.

The Stress-Anxiety Relationship:

The Burden of Financial Stress:

Financial stress is a silent but formidable adversary. According to a study by the American Psychological Association, money consistently ranks as the top stressor for Americans. In 2020, 64% of adults reported that money was a significant source of stress in their lives. This chronic stress can lead to a host of mental and physical health problems.

The Health Toll:

Stress and anxiety aren’t just mental states; they manifest physically. Chronic stress is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Moreover, the constant worry about finances can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia and other sleep disorders. Stress makes it difficult to think clearly and focus on the big picture which leads to poor decision making in many people. Since our life outcomes are simply the cumulative result of a series of our own decisions these bad decisions made under stress only amplify the problem. 

The Cognitive Load:

Financial stress layered in with our other common worries also places a cognitive load on individuals, further reducing their ability to focus and make decisions. This “bandwidth tax” can have profound implications on one’s overall quality of life. When consumed by financial worries, individuals may find it challenging to concentrate on their work or personal relationships. These can lead to missed business opportunities and separation in relationships. 

Managing Financial Anxiety:

Financial literacy equips individuals with the tools to manage and reduce financial anxiety. Understanding budgeting, debt management, and investment principles can help individuals regain a sense of control over their financial lives. Studies have shown that people with higher financial literacy levels tend to make better decisions and experience lower levels of financial stress. 

Relationships and Money:

The Strain on Relationships:

Money problems are a leading cause of relationship strife. A survey by the American Psychological Association found that 33% of couples reported that money was a significant source of conflict in their relationships. Financial disagreements can escalate quickly, leading to heated arguments and, in some cases, divorce. Experts agree it is best to be on the same page with financial goals and then have one person take the lead on managing the day to day finances. Frequent check-ins are a must along the way. A great way to measure success is by keeping a family balance sheet the same way a business would. This way couples can begin to measure success by the increases in assets (or net worth) instead of income.  

The Power of Financial Literacy:

Financial literacy isn’t just about balancing budgets and investing wisely; it’s also about fostering healthier relationships. Couples who are financially literate are better equipped to navigate financial challenges together. They tend to communicate more openly about money, set joint financial goals, and work as a team to achieve them.  Over time this will lower stress, increase confidence, and allow for more free time to spend together. 

Real-Life Success Stories:

Real-life stories of couples who conquered financial challenges through financial literacy highlight the transformative power of financial knowledge. These couples turned their financial situations around by learning how to manage debt, save, and invest wisely. Their journeys serve as inspiration for others facing similar challenges. Many stories are shared on blogs, social media, and community groups. There are also many groups on social media that allow couples to share their journey with others.

A Shield We Can All Forge:

Financial literacy is more than just numbers; it’s a shield against life’s storms. It empowers individuals to confront financial stress and anxiety head-on, leading to improved mental and physical well-being. Additionally, it strengthens relationships by promoting transparency, trust, and shared financial goals. By investing in financial education, we can all forge a shield that protects us from the turbulent waters of financial hardship. In the next blog in this series, we’ll explore how financial literacy can lead to financial independence and security, providing peace of mind even in uncertain times.