The American Heart Association celebrated their 10 year anniversary of the Go Red for Women Movement on February 1, 2013! Hundreds of women across the nation wore red on that day to help create awareness about the fact that heart disease is the number one killer in women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost someone or knows someone who has heart disease. It is important to also know that 80 percent of heart disease is preventable. How many diseases can we say that we have that much control over?
So you might ask why I am talking about heart disease on a blog that focuses on women and money. I am writing this because stress is one of the contributors to heart disease, and the highest amount of stress people say they have is over money! In a recent survey 80 percent of people rated money as their number one cause of stress. Our financial health and our physical health are interconnected. Being stressed can cause us to pick up habits that are bad for us like smoking, drinking too much, and eating poorly.
Dealing with stress in a healthy way is so important that the American Heart Association has put as a priority the importance of educating people on healthy stress management skills. You can find more information here: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/StressManagement/FightStressWithHealthyHabits/Fight-Stress-with-Healthy-Habits_UCM_307992_Article.jsp
One of the prescriptions for financial stress is getting some good money management skills. It is a fact that learning just basic money management skills can increase our ability to handle money in a healthy way. Gaining financial literacy skills is a lifelong process as we are all “a work in progress”, and our need to know more about certain financial products changes according to our stage in life.
Do something to control heart disease in your life. Deal with your financial stress. Start by making a commitment to deal with your financial stress just like someone does when they stop smoking. To quote the American Heart Association Learn and Live!
You can start dealing with your stress by writing down what money is coming in to the house and what money is going out. A great online tool for that can be found here: http://mappingyourfuture.org/money/budgetcalculator.htm
The second step is to look at where the problem areas are and create a plan to deal with them. If you need help, a good suggestion is to work with someone at your local bank to create a budget and savings plan that works for you. This is typically a free service at many banks. There are many free or inexpensive resources to help you. The National Financial Educators Council has many free resources for you and your family http://www.financialeducatorscouncil.org/free-personal-finance-programs.html
The last pointer is to remember you can always find a way to save. It is just a matter of finding where you can save and then starting to do it. Just making a habit of saving, even if it is only $5.00 a week will create a healthy way to deal with financial stress because you are taking control of your finances in a healthy way. Oprah’s magazine had a great article of 25 ways to save money every day: http://www.oprah.com/money/25-Ways-to-Save-Money-Every-Day/3
I have already adopted a few of them myself!
Start today to manage your stress in a healthy way with healthy financial habits! Learn and Live!