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Are Your Finances Impacting Your Health? Thumbnail

Are Your Finances Impacting Your Health?

Managing Your Finances

A Military Lifestyle Can Be Detrimental to You Health. Your Finances Could Make it Worse

A career in the military can be less than optimum for your long-term health. Jumping out of airplanes, humping a ruck or flying high performance aircraft can take a toll on your body. Add the stresses of combat deployments and multiple PCS moves and it doesn't get any better.  "Unhealthy" finances can add to the problem.

Evidence suggests that financial stress affects your health. An American Psychological Association study showed that financial stress reduces life expectancy.1 Financial stress can cause a range of symptoms, from migraine headaches to clogged arteries.

Real Problems Cause Real Problems

So then, being worried about our financial state can cause us physical harm. It’s also true that actually experiencing financial distress can cause poor health. A study from the Economics Policy Institute showed that the richer we are, the healthier we are.2 Men with a higher income simply live longer.

People with a lower income are more likely to suffer various maladies, similar to those caused by financial stress. This is often because of a lack of access to adequate health care, as one survey of health care statistics indicates.3 Also, people with less disposable income may be less likely to make regular visits to a doctor or dentist, eat a healthy diet or have the time to get regular exercise. All of these things can lead to poor overall health.

Poor Coping Mechanisms Makes Things Worse

Poor or not, worrying about finances can lead us to attempt to cope with the stress. We often go for the easiest method of relief, such as:

  • Sitting in front of a TV or computer screen for hours, living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Binge eating
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Maladaptive behavior in our interpersonal relationships
  • Not getting proper sleep

As you might guess, these behaviors can have negative consequences for our physical and mental health. We can put on excess weight, experience poor circulation, lack important nutrients and exacerbate stresses by having conflicts with family members.

Working Your Way Out

So then, financial stress can affect our health. The easy answer it seems would be to remove the financial stress. Of course, it isn’t always that easy. Sometimes we have to ride out the rough times while finding healthy strategies for dealing with the physiological and psychological aspects.

One way, perhaps a little painful for those going through a rough patch, would be to take stock of where you are and look to make a plan to get out of it.

  • Make a spending plan
  • Talk with family members who may have experienced similar situations
  • Look for ways to increase income without increasing stress, like turning a hobby into a side hustle.
  • Investigate military "programs" like Air Force Aid to get you through unexpected events
  • Get help from family or friends if possible
  • Talk to a financial advisor. An Accredited Financial Counselor may be a good choice.

You can also engage in healthier activities to act as a buffer between your financial stress and your health.

  • Start an exercise plan
  • Get a healthy diet
  • Spend more time with family or friends instead of sitting alone weighed down with worry
  • Visit a doctor if you are feeling poorly, don’t wait for something serious to go wrong

It’s clear that financial stress can negatively affect your health. However, it doesn’t have to. While you work your way out of your financial trouble, take time to apply some self-care for your health care.

1 https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state-nation.pdf

2. https://www.epi.org/publication/webfeatures_snapshots_20080116/

3. https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/longform/stories/poorhealth/1/

4. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/02/scarcity.aspx

If you found this article useful, you might like the following blog posts:

4 Tips to Increase Your Family Cash Flow

5 Smart Ways to Invest a Military Bonus

Got Promoted and Making More Money? Make the Most of it with These 4 Tips

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