Have you ever lived somewhere idyllic? Not just visited, but settled into your “happy place”? It’s not hard to feel inspired in beautiful New Zealand, although it would be ideal if more of us could live where we’d like to.

If you did find the perfect spot, you might be surprised  to find that it could still be stressful to live there, even if it was the most easy-going place. Money, among other things, can make it that way.

I once lived for a year in a tiny town in Switzerland, surrounded by farmland with more cows than people. I worked the tools in a toy shop, and sometimes felt like I was an elf in Santa’s workshop. It was idyllic.

We had everything we needed, but I was gobsmacked to discover that people still managed to get worked up by things. I came to a sobering conclusion: people somehow manage to manufacture their own stress, even when there shouldn’t be any to speak of.

Stressed about finances?

In CFFC’s “barometer” – a survey of people’s financial capability and wellbeing – 69% reported being concerned about money. It’s affecting them in a variety of ways:

  • 44% feel stressed
  • 30% lose sleep
  • 30% miss out on social activities important to them
  • 28% don’t access health services they might otherwise have
  • 26% make unhealthy eating choices
  • 25% are embarrassed about their finances
  • 21% hide or conceal their financial situation from family or friends
  • 17% feel ill or unwell
  • 17% have problems with their relationships
  • 15% skip exercising
  • 12% don’t contribute to church or family, even if it is important to them
  • 9% seek help to deal with financial stress
  • 6% miss a day or more of work

Women reported being more affected by money worries. They were more likely, for example, to hide or conceal their situation from family or friends (61%), feel ill or unwell (59%) or lose sleep (57%).

Thankfully, they were also more likely to seek help from others to deal with the stress (59%), which of course is much smarter than guys like me who won’t even ask for directions.

Some wounds are self-inflicted

Suffice to say we’re going through a lot. How did we get here?

I don’t ever want to say that this is all our own fault. When you take into account how wages have been mostly flat for so long, how housing costs have skyrocketed, or how so many unexpected things in life happen, it’s easy to see why there’s often not enough money to go around.

But beyond that, some of this we’ve done to ourselves through the choices we’ve made, by the way we’ve managed our incomings and taken a short-term view of things.

And that’s precisely where we can make a difference and inject some resilience into whatever stressful situation we find ourselves in. It’s not the stress that’s bad in itself – it’s how we handle it that counts.

Sorted at Work

To handle the money stress, you can now find help at work. Is your workplace "sorted"? That's a workplace that partners with CFFC to implement financial capability and wellbeing initiatives such as courses and seminars. A wide variety of employers have done this for their teams.

It's easy to understand why: 

  • 46% of employees worry about their finances.
  • 83% of employers say employee money problems interfere with productivity. 
  • 58% of employers report "financial illness" drives absenteeism.
  • 20 hours are lost to dealing with financial worries each month.

Turns out workplaces are a great place to lift financial capability – by working in small groups and supporting each other to take positive steps, you and your colleagues can get ahead financially. 

Want your employer to include financial capability in their programmes? A short "pulse check" survey can tell you a great deal about the financial capability of your team and where the needs are. Want to know more? Get in touch today.

One of the joys of this job is seeing people’s money worries subside. It shouldn’t have to be this stressful.

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