I read an article in Real Simple Magazine last year that stuck with me, Your Most Complicated Money Feelings, Resolved. I know that mental health and money can go hand-in-hand.  

The opening line reads: Money can be emotional. Experts say the first step in sorting out your finances is sorting out your feelings.

The article goes on to address 5 common feelings people have about money… these are feelings I help my clients deal with every day.

Money stresses me out, so I never think about it. Then that stresses me out.

  1. So many of our clients tell us, after their bankruptcy is discharged, that they waited so long to file because they didn’t want to face the reality that a bankruptcy was actually in their best interests and was what they needed to do. They were ostriches, burying their heads in the sand. Hiding form their problems, hoping against hope that they would just go away. Or worse yet, thinking they could somehow dig their way out of the debt or get their creditors to “understand” and “work with” them!  Looking back on all the stress they could have avoided by filing for bankruptcy sooner, my clients often say, “If only I had known how easy this would be, and how great it would feel…”
  2. STOP – If you identify with the ostrich, STOP. STOP hiding. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. Call your mom or your best friend, your financial advisor or accountant, or a bankruptcy lawyer. Let it out. Think about it. Be honest with yourself.  Then do something about it.

I’m anxious because I don’t think I’ll ever have enough money.

  1. Newsflash – you will never have enough money if you live paycheck to paycheck paying the minimum balance on your credit cards and your debt is mounting.
  2. We have the answer. No matter the reason you are in this situation, it is OK. Talk to someone about your financial fears, about your debt, and make a plan.

I’ve made some financial mistakes, and I’m ashamed of them.

  1. Oh, man. Haven’t we all messed up something? Mistakes happen. People get into financial hot water for a myriad of reasons.
  2. Acknowledging the mistakes and taking the steps to fix your finances will make it better. Blaming and judging yourself will not.  Where do you start? Phone a friend or check out our blog on getting a closer look at your finances.

Money makes me resentful. It seems like everyone is better off than I am.

  1. Keeping up with the Joneses is a dangerous mindset. At one of my first jobs, I was talking to a colleague about upcoming vacations. She was flying to the Caribbean for the 3rd time that year. I was going to the shore. For the weekend. I told her, honestly that I was envious. She replied that she finds great deals on airfare and all-inclusive resort specials, and as I admired her savvy travel-agent ways, she then dropped the bomb that she had over $25,000 in credit card debt.
  2. Most people don’t share their financial problems or credit card debt with co-workers, friends, or even family. Stop comparing yourself to others. Finding how to comfortably live life within your budget will be the most freeing thing you can do for yourself.

I saw a third of my retirement funds disappear. I got some money back, but I’m worried it will happen again.

  1. Worrying about retirement, and factors you cannot control, are stressful.
  2. Stop checking day-to-day, especially since most of us only do this when the market is in a freefall. If your financial planner isn’t cutting it, find a new one.

Money is stressful. It impacts every darn thing in our lives. I’m not suggesting that you can live a life without worry, but having a handle on your debt, your financial plans, and your financial future can allow you some serenity. Like I said, there is a connection between mental health and money.

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