Mind Your Money
Posted in Category: Budgeting, Saving
Tagged with : Budgeting, Mental health, Saving
Like all of us, I’ve experienced financial challenges over the years. Even being a financial planner doesn’t make you immune to money problems. I know from first-hand experience that managing your finances is not an easy thing to do, especially for military families. I’ve encountered employment challenges brought on by frequent PCS moves, licensure obstacles, and the biggest military-related financial change of them all – our family’s transition to civilian life. As you can probably relate, the feeling of uncertainty over money can lead to stress and anxiety.
Here’s one important lesson I’ve learned throughout these challenging times — you are not alone if you’re feeling stressed about money.
Studies have shown that financial concerns, like how to pay monthly bills or cover unplanned expenses, can affect your mental well-being and your wallet. Other research indicates that financial stress can be a factor related to divorce and even an increased risk of suicide. First and most importantly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or having thoughts of self-harm, call or text 988 to contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
Now, let’s talk about what you can do to ease some of the financial-related stress in your life. Here are a few actions you can take today to regain control of your finances and hopefully improve your mental well-being.
While it is normal to feel some stress about money, there are things you can do to ease your mind and improve your financial situation. You don’t have to figure it all out at once, small meaningful actions have a huge impact over time. The following two suggestions are a great place to start:
- Set up an emergency fund. It can provide peace of mind and relieve some stress knowing that you have money set aside for the unexpected. Financial experts recommend an emergency fund of three to six months of living expenses. Start with an initial goal of $1,000. Here are a few ways to save toward your goal.
- Create a budget. I find having a budget incredibly empowering. I feel in charge of my money rather than it being in charge of me. Here’s a great guide on how to build your budget.
Sometimes, we all need a little help. The following resources can provide information, referrals, immediate financial assistance in some instances, and professional counseling.
- Personal financial management services such as on-site counseling is offered on many installations to help with money questions. Find your installation’s program.
- Military OneSource offers free and confidential financial counseling services and mental health support via phone and video chat.
- Face the Fight™ is committed to breaking the stigma surrounding suicide in the veteran community by raising awareness and support for veteran suicide prevention.
- The Suicide and Crisis Hotline is available via call or text at 988.
- Military aid and relief societies offer support through interest-free loans, emergency financial assistance, and financial counseling. Visit Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society, and Coast Guard Mutual Assistance for details.
Financial stress can impact your mindset and your wallet. It may be impossible to avoid it completely, but tools like an emergency fund and budget can help you stay on solid footing. Remember, you don’t have to figure it out alone. Reach out to resources at your installation and online when you need more support.