Published on June 1, 2023
Financial stress can have a significant impact on relationships. For many people, talking about money is a taboo subject or, at the very least, at the bottom of their ‘to-do’ list. In addition to those sleepless nights, the pressure of financial burdens can lead to feelings of frustration or blame and create uncertainty and anxiety about the future of the relationship.
It is crucial for couples to foster open and caring communication, not just about money and finances, but about life in general. Seeking support and working together to cope with and control financial stress is vital.
To me, there are four major areas of stress: work, health, relationships, and financial.
Financial stress, in my view, can significantly impact the other three areas of stress: health, work, and relationships. Here’s how and, in my opinion, ways to cope and improve your situation for yourself and your partner:
Financial stress can have a detrimental effect on our health. When we constantly worry about money, struggle to make ends meet, or face financial difficulties, it can take a toll on our mental and physical wellbeing. We may become more anxious and down, making it harder to get a good night’s rest. Unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as excessive drinking or overeating, may come into play. When money is tight, we may postpone doctor visits or skip important check-ups, which can have long-term consequences for our physical health.
Ways to help: It’s important to prioritise self-care. This may involve engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, getting enough rest, and potentially practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing exercises. However, please note that I am not a doctor; I am simply someone who has witnessed the effects of stress over the past 30 years and observed how my clients have learned to cope, including what has worked for me during my own periods of stress. Importantly, always seek professional help where possible, as you don’t have to face this alone.
Financial stress can significantly impact stress levels related to work. When individuals are under financial pressure, they may feel compelled to work longer hours, take on additional jobs, or constantly worry about losing their job and having no money.
Furthermore, financial stress may affect job performance and productivity. Individuals preoccupied with financial stress may struggle to focus on their tasks, make poor decisions, or experience reduced motivation. This can create a cycle of stress where financial difficulties lead to work-related stress, which, in turn, exacerbates financial concerns.
Ways to help: To mitigate work-related stress, it’s important to establish a healthy work-life balance. This may involve setting boundaries, taking regular breaks, and engaging in activities outside of work that promote relaxation and rejuvenation, although I understand it can be challenging in practice.
Financial stress can strain relationships in multiple ways. Couples or families facing financial difficulties may experience increased conflict, arguments, and tension due to the strain caused by limited resources or financial constraints. Financial stress can lead to breakdowns in communication, loss of trust, or feelings of resentment between partners or family members.
Moreover, financial stress can also impact social relationships outside of the immediate family. Individuals may feel embarrassed or ashamed about their financial situation, leading to social withdrawal or difficulty maintaining friendships. Financial strain can restrict social activities and limit participation in events that involve financial commitments, further isolating individuals and adding to their stress.
Ways to help: To address relationship stress, open and honest communication is crucial. It’s important to express concerns, listen, and work together to find solutions. Seeking support from trusted friends or family can provide valuable help and guidance in navigating the stress that money can place on relationships.
That’s why, at the end of the day, it’s important to seek support, take care of ourselves mentally and physically, and find practical and positive ways to manage and improve our finances. Creating a budget, improving savings and investing habits, and taking steps to ease the impact of financial stress in these three important areas of our lives can make a difference.
All the best on your own financial wellness journey, and may ‘money stress’ become a thing of the past.
Article by Marc Bineham – Money coach, speaker and award-winning author of The Money Sandwich