4 things that you can do to improve your financial health and your mental health

Today is the start of mental health awareness week.  We know that finances are intrinsically linked to mental health issues.  If you are concerned about your finances this can lead to stress, anxiety and depression and sometimes affecting your productivity.  There are ways to break this cycle so we thought that we would put together some small but manageable practices that could help you to reach your financial goals. 
It has been found that people are more worried about money than any other area of their lives.  36% of UK employees are worrying about money

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Understanding your Habits and Behaviours

A great place to start is to understand your behaviours – if you are feeling stressed or anxious do you find yourself spending money?  There are so many behaviours that we are not even conscious of… try to pick out what yours are and then put a plan in place to change them. 

We always recommend you have three months’ salary in a fund to cover you for any emergencies. This seems like a big thing to do, but how about when you get paid, the first thing you do is to put 10% away into a savings fund?  You can build from there.  As well as squirreling away 10% savings try putting 10% of your salary into a spending account… for you to spend on what you want so you don’t feel that you are missing out.  In fact, we would suggest that within your account you create sub accounts – necessities (household, bills, memberships etc), 10% savings, 10% spending – and with whatever you have left you could start to think about planning your financial future with a pension and/or investing.      

Talk Things Through with Someone You Trust

Often it is very difficult to be open about our finances, especially if we are worried about them. This is where analysing your behaviors is useful too; once you identify your spending habits, it is more easily discussed.  If you can be completely honest and open about your values and spending habits then you can then make a clear plan of how you want to move forwards financially.  Relate in a recent post has more information on how to talk to your partner about finances.

If you don’t have a partner or feel unable to speak to them, family or friends about your money situation there are professionals who can help you.

Get organized
  • Take time each week to go through bank statements and to look at your finances to check where you are financially. It’s easy to let it all ‘pile up’, but if you set aside a time every week it means that you are already ‘in the know’. 
  • Keep your important documents, bank statements, payslips etc in one place so that they are easy to find.
  • Create a budget – this is a helpful thing to do at the beginning of the month when you get paid.  When you are looking at your finances each week, have a look at the budget and make sure you are sticking to it.  If there are unexpected expenses, amend the budget, but try to stick to it.  It’s easy to set out the budget – it’s sticking to it that is the problem so always think about your money behaviours.  
Get Professional Advice

This could be addressed by speaking to a professional who can help with cashflow forecasting/ investment / pension advice and more.  

If you have had a bad experience in the past talking to a bank or a professional don’t worry – everyone is different. 

Here are some hints and tips to help you prepare and to help alleviate any anxiety or stress that you may have when you meet with a professional.

  • Take along bank statements, credit card statements, bills and letters. Also bring along your passport or driving license and a household bill with your name and address on it.  This means that if you do decide to proceed you can do the money laundering requirements to start with.  Ask the advisor what you will need if you are unsure. 
  • Have an idea of what you want to ask. Write it down and take it with you.  Take your notepad and take notes when you are there – it may help you feel at ease when you speak to them.   
  • If you want to have support, think about asking a friend or family member to go with you.  
  • Do not be worried about asking questions – the advisors are there to help you and advise you – it is much better to ask and be sure than to not ask and then be worried about it. There are no ‘silly’ questions. 

At Heritable, we specialise in Mortgages, Pensions, Investments, Protection, Savings and Income.  We know that everyone is different, and we treat each client as an individual.  If you are worried about fees, we can discuss this with you before you even come in for a meeting and put your mind at ease.  We believe that everyone should plan for their financial future and we can help you reach your goals.  We are available for a no obligation chat at anytime and we can help you move forwards from there.  Call us on 0131 557 6778 or Contact Us to see how we could help you.