Money or Your Health?

  • PublishedJuly 18, 2011

Have you allowed money worries get you down? Is your health suffering as a result? Many people dream of being rich and famous through various means – inheriting millions, winning a lottery, getting a highly paying job, robbing a bank, investing wisely, or having a successful business. Many people think that getting lots of money is the gateway to happiness and good health. However, this is far from it. Research shows that middle-aged moneyed people are far less healthy than the poorest. Reason? The pursuit of wealth makes them adopt a lifestyle that is stressful, leaving them more prone to heart disease, stroke, lung disease and cancer.

Money affects most of our decisions, so if you have money worries or are constantly striving for more, it can have an adverse effect on your mental and physical wellbeing. Many people become depressed because of their unhealthy financial situation, and to ease the misery some go out shopping, gambling or overuse their credit cards. You will be surprised at how many people you think have a lot of money, yet they owe huge debts in credit card bills, overdrafts and other unsecured loans. These people are likely to die young because of health issues related to their pursuit for wealth. Ignoring money issues also poses another health risk. You can never be stress free if your finances are not in order. Stress in itself triggers many health complications including depression, high blood pressure and cancer. It is therefore important to get friendly with your finances and learn how to manage them stress free. Health and happiness should be the priorities of your life not money.

Money Sickness Syndrome

You may be suffering from money sickness syndrome (MSS) if thinking about your money gives you headaches, makes you short of breath, causes palpitations, or affects your appetite or sleep patterns. The anxiety caused by lack of control over your finances can put great stress on your health and wellbeing. Most people who are in debt often suffer stress, depression and anxiety. MSS can affect people of all income brackets when they have money concerns such as loss of a job, business not doing well, a huge bill to pay or even the prospect of retirement. The cure for MSS is not ignoring your money issues but facing them head on. Become realistic about money and plan to live on what you have, not what you do not have. Avoid incurring debts beyond your means. If you have money problems, discuss them with those close to you such as your spouse or your children. Talk to your bank if your problem is a debt you are not able to repay at the required time. Look for alternative means of earning an income if you lose your job. The trick is to have a plan that reduces the burden of your money worries and so eases your physical and psychological symptoms.

Money and happiness

Happiness goes hand in hand with good health and good relationships. Having a lot of money has little to do with happiness. Many people think they will be happy when they have enough money to buy everything they desire in life, but this is not true. Many high earners spend less time enjoying themselves than those with smaller pay packets. If you are constantly striving to make more money, you are more likely to spend time doing pain and misery inducing activities such as working overtime, getting a second job or setting up a business on the side, than people who accept their income and live within their means.

It is important for you to set your priorities right if you want to remain happy and healthy. Think about what is important to you – a huge balance on your account, being able to buy the latest gadgets, giving expensive gifts to your loved ones, or having time for yourself and spending quality time with those you love and care for. Chances are, those you think you are working so hard for and so are never available to spend time with them, would appreciate spending time with you more than the money or gifts you give to them. It is important to allow yourself some leisure time to do things that make you happy and not just work all the time.

Money and relationships

Worries about money can adversely affect a relationship. People with money problems experience loss of libido because they are worried all the time and therefore not able to relax to allow their bodies perform sexually. When there is a shortage of money, there are more arguments in a relationship. Small things may irritate the couple and tempers may get shorter, resulting in fights. Couples with cash flow problems spend less quality time together and with their children.

Lies also come into play when a couple has money issues as it becomes difficult to talk openly about the situation, especially when the financial problems are self-induced. For example, when a person has incurred huge credit card bills on expenses he cannot explain to his partner, he will lie about it. This leads to what can be termed as financial infidelity. This is a major cause of relationship breakdowns. Lying about money to your partner is a form of deception like any other. You are hiding something incredibly important, which implies a lack of trust that can destroy a relationship.

Talking about money problems helps put things in perspective, but couples must avoid talking about money problems in bed or after consuming alcohol. Talking about money worries should not be postponed because the sooner you talk about it the easier you will find a solution, and the sooner you will avoid more debts. If, for example, you suspect your partner is overspending on the credit card, raise the issue before it gets out off hand. Do not use accusatory language such as, “You are over-spending or you are being careless with money or it’s your fault we are in a financial crisis.” Instead use loving words like, “Let’s talk about our financial situation and see how we can resolve it.”

A good way to organise your finances as a couple is to appraise the problem together and divide responsibilities in accordance with each one’s financial ability. Set a regular time each month to talk about finances – all the time – not just when you have problems. Couples who enjoy healthy relationships are open about their finances and both strive to contribute to the family kitty and spend on a budget they have both discussed and agreed upon.

Remember, true wealth is not about money – it’s about good relationships, good health and on-going self-improvement. True wealth is about happiness. Ultimately, it’s more important to be happy than to be rich. There is a strong link between health and happiness, which should remain your priority and not money. You should aim at having just enough money to take care of your needs and live a happy life, and not kill yourself trying to make more than you will ever need in what might be a miserable life.

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