The Link Between Your Finances and Your Health

What’s good for your bank account may be good for your mind and body, too.

Woman at the therapist

Updated on February 15, 2024.

We all know that choppy financial waters can lead to some serious money troubles, like the inability to pay monthly bills, a lower credit score, or even home foreclosure. But financial issues can not only affect your bottom line. They may also lead to serious health issues, including chronic stress.

If you’ve ever felt stressed about your finances, you’re not alone. In fact, 66 percent of U.S. adults reported that money is a significant source of stress in their life, according to the Stress in America 2022 survey published by the American Psychological Association (APA). Among those respondents, 57 percent said that having enough money to pay for essentials was their main source of money stress, while 43 percent said that saving enough for the future was their primary stressor.

Many of us are stressed about money, and it’s not only hurting our wallets.    

How stress harms the mind and body

According to the APA, chronic, everyday stress may lead to a number of mental and physical health issues.

It contributes to depression or anxiety. Although depression can have many possible causes, the inability to cope with chronic stress can increase your risk. Runaway stress can also negatively impact your relationships with your partner, family, and friends.

If you’re experiencing feelings of sadness, anger, or hopelessness, changes in your sleep or eating habits, loss of pleasure in activities you once enjoyed, it’s important to get help. Talk with a therapist or trusted family member or friend. Depression can be overwhelming and even scary, but you don’t have to go it alone.  

If you’ve having any thoughts of self-harm or suicide, reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling, texting, or chatting 988.

It can harm the cardiovascular system. Sustained, elevated blood pressure and constant surges of the body’s stress hormones can take a toll on your heart and blood vessels, making you more susceptible to high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

It can lead to gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea or constipation. Constant stress can trigger irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and can affect how your body digests and absorbs nutrients.

It may affect reproductive function. Men can experience decreases in testosterone and sperm production and may even develop erectile dysfunction as a result of unchecked stress. Women may experience changes in menstruation, severe PMS symptoms, and decreased libido.

The good news is that are steps you can take to get your finances in check—and get your financial stress under control in the process.

Boost your finances to boost your health

Effectively managing your money won’t just set you up for a more comfortable financial future—it can help you take control of your stress, too. Not sure where to begin? Try developing some smart money habits.

Create a budget—and stick to it. Taking a closer look at your income versus your expenses every month can help you identify constructive spending habits and room for improvement. You’ll also discover new opportunities to save and reduce unnecessary spending. The best part? You can choose a strategy that works with your budget and lifestyle, like working with a financial advisor, keeping a highly detailed spending journal, or downloading a free budgeting app.

The most important thing is to choose a technique that fits your needs and your personality. If tracking your budget becomes a hassle, it will be harder to dedicate the time to doing it consistently.

Make saving easierWhen you’re planning your budget, be sure to include a monthly savings goal. Then, set up automatic transfers from your checking to your savings account. Building savings into your budget—and setting up automatic transfers—will make it feel like a regular monthly expense.

Plan for your future. When the time comes, will you be ready to retire? If you don’t already have one, consider opening a Roth IRA or 401(k). It’ll help set you up for a solid retirement and boost your peace of mind.

If you’re feeling stressed about your finances, it’s important to find the tools and resources that can help you spend less, save more, and feel good about your financial future.

Article sources open article sources

American Psychological Association. Stress in America 2022. Concerned for the future, beset by inflation. October 2022.
American Psychological Association. Stress effects on the body. November 1, 2018.
National Institute of Mental Health. Depression. Last revised February 2018.
Labanski A, Langhorst J, Engler H, Elsenbruch S. Stress and the brain-gut axis in functional and chronic-inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases: A transdisciplinary challenge. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2020;111:104501.
Palomba S, Daolio J, Romeo S, Battaglia FA, Marci R, La Sala GB. Lifestyle and fertility: the influence of stress and quality of life on female fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):113.
Ilacqua A, Izzo G, Emerenziani GP, Baldari C, Aversa A. Lifestyle and fertility: the influence of stress and quality of life on male fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018;16(1):115.

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