Understanding how financial stress impacts your well-being

(NC) Canadians consistently rank money as their biggest source of stress – higher than health, work or family obligations. 

This is not surprising when you consider that more than half of us do not regularly save money to cover unexpected expenses, according to the first national survey of financial well-being conducted by the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada. Moreover, one in seven of us often use credit to purchase basic necessities like food because their money has run out.

These numbers tell part of the story of why, more and more, Canadians regularly experience financial stress in their daily lives.

If you’re one of them, it’s important to understand the full impact that financial stress can have on your well-being and health. It could be bigger than you think.

According to the Financial Health Network, an organization mandated to improve the financial health of Americans, if you’re struggling with financial stress, you are twice as likely to report poor overall health, and four times more likely to suffer from insomnia, headaches and other illnesses.

Financial stress can also lead to more serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

Financial stress doesn’t only affect your health. According to the Canadian Payroll Association, 43 per cent of workers are so financially stressed that their performance at work is actually suffering.

In short, there is no shortage of reasons to take charge of your personal finances – and the sooner the better. Yet, many of us just don’t know where to start.

The good news is that – whether it's debt, a mortgage, your children's education or your retirement savings you're concerned about – help is out there. There are many free and unbiased online resources available to help you take control of your finances.

Many are focussed on helping you to create a budget, which is one of the most important steps you can take to better manage your money. This includes the FCAC’s new budget planner, which generates charts showing where your money goes and compares your spending habits with other Canadians in similar life situations.  

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