What happens when you think about money? If you tense up and your heart skips a beat, you’re not alone. More than four in 10 Canadians (42%) say money is their greatest stress.
And, while some stress is fine, chronic stress has been linked to:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Immune complications
- Unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking
So the stress we feel about money—day after day and year after year—has the potential to undermine our physical health.
On the other hand, healthy finances can lead to a healthier life. In a recent survey, people who said they are financially prepared were:
- Almost 24% more likely to exercise one or more hours a week
- Almost 25% more likely to say they are “very healthy”
Three things you can do to improve your financial preparedness and health are:
1. Have a plan
You can improve more than your finances with a financial plan that charts the course from where you are to where you want to be. You can also enjoy:
- Better financial well-being
- Better emotional well-being
- More overall contentment
- less stress the more prepared you are
2. Manage debt
If you’re concerned about your household debt, consider that Canadians are carrying a grand total debt of $1.933 trillion in mortgages, loans, lines of credit and credit card balances. And it’s important to know research links high levels of debt to depression and higher blood pressure. The good news is that you can become debt-free sooner with a debt management plan you create with your financial advisor.
3. Save for the future
Have you saved enough for retirement? About 60% of Canadians are worried they haven’t. To boost your retirement savings:
- Make regular contributions—every week or every month
- Get tax-deferred growth in an RRSP
- Get tax-free growth in a TFSA
- Diversify your portfolio of investments
Healthy finances do lead to a healthier life
Taking steps towards better financial preparedness can help you feel more in control and relieve stress. And, as you start making progress towards your goals, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing you’re minimizing health risks.
To help you manage debt and save, you can start your financial plan with a financial advisor. If you don’t already have one, choose an advisor near you now.
Read more on this topic:
- A national survey conducted by Leger on behalf of the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC)
- Statistics Canada – Perceived Life Stress 2014
- Manulife / Ipsos Reid Health and Wealth Wellness Study 2014
- CBC News - Debt-to-income ratio ticks down to $1.65 for every dollar Canadians earn
- CBC News - Debt stress affects health, fuels depression
- Conference Board of Canada - Majority of Canadians Feel They Can't Afford to Retire
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Stress