How do you express stress with your money?

We’ve all been there: that moment when life throws you a curveball and stress builds up. Your palms might get sweaty, your heart rate spikes, or perhaps you feel a pit in your stomach. But have you ever thought about how this stress manifests in your financial behaviour? Understanding your ‘money stress language’ could be a pivotal factor in achieving comprehensive financial wellness, which is the ultimate aim of integrated, holistic financial planning.

Despite how enlightened we may think we’ve become in the 21st century, we still often think of financial planning in terms of numbers, budgets, and spreadsheets. While these are undoubtedly important, another layer is easy to overlook: our emotional and psychological relationship with money. 

In a previous blog, we discussed how threat, stress, and trauma can influence our financial behaviours. But it’s not just about understanding that these factors exist; it’s about knowing how they specifically affect you. This self-awareness can be a game-changer in terms of aligning your financial decisions with your overall well-being and life goals.

Type A: The Spender

When stress kicks in, some people go on a spending spree. It’s not necessarily about need; it’s about the emotional high that comes from acquiring something new. This temporary rush can mask the stress you’re feeling. However, in the long term, impulsive spending can jeopardise your financial stability and stray you further from your goals. Recognising this pattern is the first step towards making a meaningful change.

Type B: The Saver

Others do the exact opposite. In times of stress, they hoard money, often going to great lengths to cut costs. The act of saving gives them a sense of control when everything else seems chaotic. While saving is generally a positive financial behaviour, excessive frugality can hinder the quality of life and even create tension in relationships.

Type C: The Avoider

Some people detach from their finances altogether when stressed. Bills pile up, unopened, and investment decisions get postponed. The “out of sight, out of mind” approach offers an illusionary escape from stress but usually results in a snowballing financial burden that becomes even more stressful down the line.

Type D: The Analyzer

Then there are those who become hyper-focused on their finances, analysing every number and constantly checking their accounts. This could mean reevaluating investments or incessantly tracking every single expenditure. While being informed is beneficial, over-analysis can lead to decision paralysis and added stress.

Type E: The Sharer

Last but not least, some people tend to seek financial advice from friends or family when stressed. While it’s good to have a support system, remember that not all advice is good, especially regarding complex financial matters.

Understanding your ‘money stress language’ is not just an exercise in self-awareness; it’s an investment in your financial future. When you know how stress affects your financial decisions, you can take proactive steps to counteract these tendencies. Integrated financial planning is not just about growing your wealth; it’s about making sure that wealth contributes to your broader life objectives and emotional well-being.

So, the next time stress rears its head, how will you respond? Who will you call for advice?

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