We all say it – ‘Money can’t buy you happiness’. But do we believe it?
Perhaps being rich won’t make us happy, but feeling financially secure definitely plays a huge role on an individual’s overall wellbeing and happiness. A recent survey carried out by the Money and Mental Health charity showed that a quarter of people experiencing common mental disorders are also in problem debt, three times more than people without.
Debt can have a huge impact on our future if we don’t get it under control.
For instance, if you’re planning to buy a home, a poor credit rating could affect your ability to borrow money such as a mortgage but it’s easily fixed if you get yourself organised.
What does financially secure mean?
For many of us, the definition of feeling financially secure essentially means that the money going into your bank account is enough to cover all of your outgoings, and leave a comfortable amount afterwards, too. We may feel financially secure if we don’t have any genuine money worries – we can afford what we want, when we want it, and an unexpected cost or bill doesn’t throw us into a tailspin.
Your lifestyle plays a big part in whether you will feel financially secure; if you’re spending too much money on life’s little pleasures, chances are that the last few weeks of the month are going to be a tricky time for you.
Money and your mental wellbeing
Managing your finances and maintaining good mental health go hand in hand.
If you’re having difficulty controlling your income and expenditure you may suffer from anxiety and depression each time you run into your overdraft and plunge yourself further into debt. Equally, if you can’t control your mental behaviour you will inevitably neglect your finances. If you’re worried about your own or someone else’s debts, Wellbeing info recommends following this care procedure:
Consider debt as an underlying cause in stress-related illness, both mental and physical.
Ask simple questions about debt; emphasise the value of money advice early invention can prevent a crisis.
Refer to an appropriate debt agency (telephone, online or face-to-face). Use this guide to find free and independent services.
Engage with advisers – a referral to a money adviser is the first step.
Taking the negativity out of money
Having financial security could also be viewed as having a positive relationship with money. According to psychology expert Matt James Ph.D., money is a basic necessity to our wellbeing as much as health or relationships. However, we’re struggling with the love/hate balance when it comes to how we view money. James interviewed a number of people who he believed to be prosperous – not people who had millions in the bank but those who had healthy and comfortable relationships with money.
What James discovered was that the prosperous people viewed money as something that was essential. Whereas those with negative beliefs such as ‘I can’t live a balanced life if I want to make a lot of money,’ and ‘my financial success depends on the job market and the economy’, were more likely to be left out of the prosperous category.
The key point that James kept on referring back to in terms of those with a positive relationship with money is that money has no reflection of your self-worth. To be happy with your situation, if you can understand that your wealth does not reflect you as an individual or as a family, then you’re one step closer to having a healthy relationship with money.
Living within your means
The trouble is that many of us can’t afford the lifestyles we’re living. According to a new study, 50% of the participants with incomes of over £70,000 said they thought they were ‘just about managing.’ Many of those asked admitted to running out of money halfway through the month and having to rely on pay-day loans, credit cards, overdrafts or friends and family to get through the rest of the month.
These are worrying statistics when you consider that the average family is meant to be ‘just about managing’ on a collaborative £30,000. This isn’t a financially secure way of living and is likely the cause of anxiety and mood swings.
So, in conclusion, money won’t make us happier. But if we can’t cover our basic needs as sociable human beings and this needs to come from a job we’re satisfied in and earning what we feel we deserve in. As studies have shown the high we get from giving is a lot higher than that of an impulse buy for ourselves so perhaps it’s time we started considering not how much money we have, but how we use it.