Picture a world (or just yourself) with no financial stress

March 06, 2013 · By Kelvin Smith

I saw some interesting statistics the other day about financial stress that really got me thinking, so I thought I’d pass them along.

According to a recent survey published by Financial Finesse, only 16 percent of working Americans surveyed said they had no financial stress. That leaves 84 percent of us who are experiencing stress caused by our financial situations! And before you dismiss that as being just a fact of life, consider this: the American Psychological Association recognizes financial stress as the leading cause of unhealthy behaviors including smoking, weight gain, and alcohol and drug abuse! Financial stress has even been found to cause serious diseases like metabolic syndrome, which can lead to even more serious problems including type-two diabetes and heart disease.

Clearly, financial stress is a problem. The question is: what can we do about it?

As with most problems, I think the first thing we need to do is to identify what’s causing the stress, so we can then get started fixing it. The survey offers some insight: the higher the stress level reported by respondents, the less likely they were to have an emergency fund or a budget, and the more likely they were to have more debt than they were comfortable with or have doubts about their preparations for retirement. In other words, failing to be proactive about managing your finances is extremely likely to stress you out.

Fortunately, there’s some good news – at least for all of Us, the members of Arizona Federal. Because the credit union is a financial cooperative, our goal is to help each of Us – every member – take control of our financial lives; in other words, we want to help members be proactive about managing their finances – the exact thing that should help reduce stress. In fact, our long-term goal is “A world without financial stress.”

As one step toward reaching that goal, staff has put together a “Five-minute Financial Checkup” that will soon be available to all of Us as a way to gauge how much stress we’re under, and what we can do to reduce it. It’s a great self-evaluation tool, looking at things like whether or not we know where our money goes, if we know our net worth, how well we have our assets insured and more. We’ll have it available soon on our website, and I highly recommend that each of Us take this self-examination. And once you have, one of our staff experts will be happy to sit down with you and map out a plan to help you become financially stress-free.

So, is our vision realistic? Can we really have a “world without financial stress?” Well, we’re a membership organization; our world is our members. And yes, I believe we can help all of Us get rid of our financial stress – or at least greatly reduce it. But that will only happen if we’re willing to work together toward that goal – in other words, if we behave like the members of a cooperative. I’m willing, and I know many others who are. How about you?

As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks for participating, and for being one of Us.

Tags: Cooperatively Speaking