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Impact of Financial Stress on Health: Prolonged Economic Crisis Can Hurt Your Health

By Ease@Work, 2009


If you were experiencing frequent migraines or dizzy spells, you would seek medical help.  When we notice symptoms of a physical problem, most of us don’t hesitate to see a doctor, undergo tests and start treatment.

When financial health is suffering, however, most people generally hesitate to seek help, even though current research shows that financial stress significantly can affect physical – and emotional – well-being.

For example, one study conducted by four professors, “Negative Health Effects of Financial Stress,” found the following:

  • More than half of respondents (51%) reported moderate financial stress
  • 23% reported severe stress
  • 12% were experiencing overwhelming financial stress

Although nearly one-quarter (23%) of respondents earned above $50,000 annually.

In addition, the same study showed 82.5% of the sample said financial stress was affecting their health, citing ailments including depression, headaches, insomnia, digestive problems, high blood pressure and appetite disorders. But often, people don’t realize that their physical problems are caused by stress from financial issues.

Integrated Treatment

With financial and physical/emotional health clearly linked, treating problems in both areas should be linked as well.

There are employee assistance programs to assist you with mental and behavioral health issues, and a trained counselor can help you untangle a complex web of emotions regarding money and spending and point ways to ease the emotional and physical manifestations of financial stress.

Receiving financial counseling can be just as important.

A good financial counselor will be credentialed and have years of experience with all kinds of financial situations. An experienced financial counselor can also help you take an honest look at a particular situation in order to figure out the causes of financial problems.

Some financial problems are situational, such as a divorce, a death in the family, unexpected health care expenses, job loss or identity theft.  Others are behavioral, meaning they are rooted in other problems and require a change in thinking and action to fix the problem.

Many are a combination of both that feed on one another, such as a layoff leading to inappropriate use of credit and unhealthy coping behaviors, such as excessive eating or drinking – yet another reason to combine your employee assistance services with financial counseling.

Effective financial counseling can help you sort through your financial situations and coach you toward making better day-to-day choices – which lead to long-term financial health.

Research by Virginia Tech personal finance professor Thomas Garman shows that employees who take advantage of financial counseling get results:

  • 75% reported making better financial decisions.
  • 56% said their financial situation improved.

Using both a behavioral/mental health counselor and a financial counselor can save you from financial, physical, or emotional crisis, improving your overall health, happiness and productivity.

– end of article

Our award winning employee benefit is at no cost to the employer.  To schedule a quick and convenient 15 minute overview, please fill out the form below.

The employee financial wellness benefits program offered by CFOSimple assists employees with financial issues by providing one-on-one coaching, web-based software and free, unlimited customer and technical support.  Employees may use a combination of outside counseling and our financial resources to get them back on the road to financial health and peace of mind.

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