Help Your Finances and Soothe Your Mind

With May designated as Mental Health Month, it seems timely to focus on the important part finances play in our sense of well-being.

Below is information related to understanding the ways money management skills can affect people’s happiness, along with practical steps to stay financially and emotionally healthy.


THE EMOTIONAL SIDE OF MONEY

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by money worries? You’re not the only one. 

According to a 2019 survey by CompareCards.com, seven in ten Americans admit that they’ve cried over something related to their finances. Additionally, age and gender aside, many acknowledge money as an emotional trigger.

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In a 2018 Harris Poll, it was revealed that money was a major source of stress for 44% of respondents. Specific financial stress inducers included low income, the rising cost of healthcare, too much debt and a lack of retirement savings.

These findings are troubling not only because of the significant percentage of Americans who are struggling with money concerns, but because of how those concerns can impact our lives.

FINANCIAL ANXIETY AFFECTS MORE THAN A SPREADSHEET BOTTOM LINE

A number of studies show that financial insecurity leads to a host of other problems from general stress and anxiety to poor physical health and reduced job performance.

Within the medical industry, worries about the cost of healthcare are being defined as, “financial toxicity,” as patients struggle to pay for health and hospital care and prescriptions. Worry about large medical bills and related debt have been proven to cause illness and even increase the amount of pain people feel.

When financial stress hits close to home, it can cause relationship problems among spouses, parents, children and even friends. Additionally children raised in poverty have been shown to suffer from far-reaching physical and mental health issues.

While these are concerning statistics, a 2015 Gallup poll regarding the link between relationship problems and financial well-being offered hope. According to those who participated, the solution to reducing stress and increasing financial security wasn’t as much about the amount of money individuals possessed, but more about how well they managed their money. The good news is that managing money is something everyone can control.


WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FEEL MORE FINACIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY SECURE

Worry is caused by uncertainty. While you can’t know what lies ahead, you can take steps to get a better handle on the present and more fully prepare yourself for the future. The following basic money management tips can help

Know where your money is going

  • Write down your monthly expenses. How much are you spending on essentials like housing, food and transportation? How much are you spending on extras? Make adjustments so that you don’t spend more than you earn.
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Get a handle on debt

  • If you’re carrying credit card balances, create a payment plan that is realistic and that you can manage. Try to pay more on higher interest debt first, making sure to pay at least the minimum on all debts, including student loans.

Plan for emergencies

  • Aim to put aside enough cash to cover 3-6 months of essential expenses in a savings or money market account. Starting from scratch? Aim for whatever regular amount you can afford and work your way up from there. Acknowledge there may be months when your ability to reach that aim will fall short, but don’t give up. Next month get right back on your savings track.

Boost your savings

  • Make savings a part of your monthly budget. Even a small amount saved on a regular basis can make a big difference.

Contribute to your 401(k)

  • Contribute at least enough to get the company match, more if you can.

Take advantage of workplace financial wellness programs

  • See what your company offers in terms of retirement planning, healthcare, and financial education and planning.

MONEY MANAGEMENT AND HAPPINESS

There’s one more Gallup poll that offers particularly positive results. It found that among Americans worried about paying bills, 63% said they enjoyed saving more than spending.

Saving as much as you can, controlling your expenses, and feeling like you’re in control can reduce your financial stress and help you maintain a positive attitude no matter what life throws your way.


This blog was excerpted from an online article by Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, CFP®, Board Chair and President, Charles Schwab Foundation; Senior Vice President, Schwab Community Services, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.; Board Chair, Schwab Charitable

What I’ve Learned and Relearned as a Financial Advisor During COVID-19

In 2011, a LinkedIn Group led by a man named Joe Paris formed The Operational Excellence Society. The society’s goal is operational excellence by design over coincidence.

A significant impact of this group has been the universalization of the catchphrase “Words Matter.” It’s a simple concept that has encouraged international awareness of how the words we say and how we say them have far-reaching effects, often in ways we may never know.

Over the last three weeks, “Words Matter” has guided me through this new world order in which we are living and working. It’s been a time of stress, challenge, worry and, every once in a while, laughter. Most centrally it’s been a time of choosing words that matter as I have counseled, advised and spoken with family, friends and clients. Through each day’s experiences, this is what I have learned and relearned.

  • I love what I do every day, but especially when I can help clients through challenging times like the one we are now facing. I’ve been asked a lot lately how I’m dealing with the huge influx of COVID-19 calls from clients concerned about their investments and the roller coaster market. My answer is always the same. I truly enjoy engaging in conversations where I can calm people’s fears and help manage their worries.
  • Words matters. Clients turn to all of us at Note Advisors as confident voices in times of “noise” and turmoil. Staying positive and giving sound advice is what our clients need and deserve. It’s a purpose that we honor.
  • People with a financial plan in place are far less anxious than those without one. Enough said!
  • Retirement plans that we’ve designed for our clients are working exactly as intended. People are able to take their needed monthly income while leaving the principal of their investments in the market to recover. Planning plus thoughtful execution equals positive results.
  • For younger clients who think this is the time to stop investing in their 401k or IRA, it’s been rewarding to educate them on increasing their 401k deferrals and putting long term cash to work right now. It’s a huge step in positively shaping their financial outlooks and their futures.
  • Helping all of our clients understand the volatility of the COVID-19 stock market and encouraging them not to make reactive changes is leading to long term positive impacts on their financial futures. It is also developing stronger partnerships between us, as advisors, clients and individuals, as we face this crisis together.
  • The value we, as financial advisors, provide in uncertain times truly makes a difference in the lives of our clients. We are working to develop bonds of mutual respect and trust that are impacting their financial security as well as their personal well being.

As we continue to find ways to manage and move forward in this time of quarantine and social distancing, all of us at Note look forward to hearing from you—to listen to your concerns, hear your questions and partner with you in managing your human, social and financial capital.

In the meantime, because words matter: Stay safe. Stay well. Stay in touch.

To contact Shawn or any Note Advisors team member, call 716-256-1682


Shawn C. Glogowski, CFP® is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and Principal/Chief Compliance Officer for Note Advisors, LLC. He is responsible for helping clients create, implement, and monitor their comprehensive financial plans and is truly passionate about the planning process and educating clients on investment, tax, retirement, and estate strategies to meet their needs

Shawn holds a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC), and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designations with The American College. He is also an Enrolled Agent with the IRS which allows him to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service.