Money, the new yoga

14 February 2020

5 min read

Laura Whateley
Laura Whateley

Personal Finance Journalist

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We know what we should do to have a long, healthy life – eat vegetables, get enough sleep, drink kombucha (or fermented tea, as some like to call it). However, there’s something missing from the discussions about our health that can make a great difference to our overall wellbeing: money.

How finances affect our wellbeing

The way we manage our finances can have a direct impact on our lives. For example, it’s hard to eat well if we’re struggling with money and feeling overwhelmed and stressed as a result.

Nowadays, there’s a much better understanding of the negative impact that lack of money can have on our wellbeing.

The charity the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute believes that people with depression are twice as likely to be prone to debt. Certain conditions make it difficult to work, costing sufferers lost income. Others may find it hard to open or keep on top of bills. Some people with conditions such as bipolar are likely prone to overspending.

But the charity also points out that those who struggle with their money or who are in debt are also more prone to developing depression or anxiety.

 

Knowing is not the same as doing

People assume I must be great with my money because I write about it. I say it’s all very well understanding the importance of, say, saving for a pension, but that doesn’t make it any easier to control my urge to go shopping.

By the same token, you shouldn’t resign yourself to being ‘rubbish with money'.

 

How to be better with money

Like eating well or exercising, you can train yourself to become more confident and better with budgeting, or paying down debt, or saving regularly. When you start running, having never done it before, it hurts, and it’s hard, but it gets less so. You can become a runner if you practise it enough. The same is true of doing something about, and consequently, feeling happier about your finances.

Take some time out, maybe an afternoon, to think about your financial goals. For example, what you want your future to look like and how you intend to get there.

Then:

  1. list your incomings and outgoings.
  2. go through the statements the interest rates you're paying on any credit cards or loans.
  3. check the interest rates or returns you may or may not be receiving on any savings or investments.

It's hard to save unless you plan how much you need or want to put aside. Also, it's best to do it as soon as any salary comes into your account.

Like eating broccoli, you can’t just do it once and hope for the best. Keeping on top of your money is a lifelong habit that you need to nurture and maintain.

Biography

Laura Whateley is a freelance writer and author of Sunday Times bestselling book Money: A User's Guide. She has written for a wide variety of publications including The Times, The Guardian, Grazia, Refinery 29, Elle, Red and Stylist.