Are Your Finances Affecting Your Health?

Stress ReductionWe often try to compartmentalize different aspects of our life, allowing us break things down more effectively. As a result, when we think about health, we don’t think about money.

In fact, we are likely to focus more on food and exercise when we try to figure out what’s at the root of some of our health issues. Even though we think of finances and health as two different aspects of our lives, the reality is that they are connected, and your finances can have a big impact on your health.

Financial Stress: Physical and Mental/Emotional Health

The biggest way that finances can affect your health is as a result of the stress you feel. Money stress can be a very real part of your life, and enough of that stress over a prolonged period of time can start to have physical effects, as well as impacting your mental and emotional health.

According to WebMD, there are physical indications related to your stress — and this can include financial stress:

  • Tiredness, as stress can lead to insomnia. Lack of sleep is related to a number of physical, mental, and emotional health issues.
  • Frequent colds and infections due to lower immune system ability. Fatigue can make your body less able to fight off infection.
  • Sore muscles, due to tenseness. This can include lower back pain.
  • Headaches because you are constantly thinking about money and worried about it.

There are also indications that stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems, as well as digestive problems, including ulcers.

Financial stress doesn’t just stop at potential physical manifestations. Your mental and emotional health can also be heavily impacted by money problems. When you are broke and in debt, you might see an increase in your risk of depression. Anxiety and depression are often hallmarks related to poor financial health since you spend your time worrying about money, and it can be hard to see a way out.

On top of that, money troubles can add strain to your relationships. When you are anxious about money, plus feel the physical toll the financial situation is placing on you, it’s hard to interact with others in a healthy manner. You might snap at your kids more, or fight about money with your significant other. Relationships with close friends and relatives might also become strained. These relationship difficulties can lead to poor emotional stress as you feel your connections to others deteriorate and as you feel increasingly isolated.

Coping with Financial Stress

If you want to see improvement in your health, you probably need to deal with your financial stress. One of the best ways to get a start on reducing your money-related stress is to make a plan. It can be difficult to face your money problems, but research indicates that taking action can help you feel better. Honestly evaluate your current situation. But don’t stop there. Force yourself to start making a plan to change things. Make a list of things you can cut back on and ways you can make extra money. Just creating a plan and then starting to implement it can help you begin to feel better.

Make sure you turn to your support system. If you have someone to face the financial problems with, you won’t feel as alone, and it can also help you to bounce ideas off of someone else to move forward. You might also need to speak with a professional about your situation. In some cases, you can improve your mental and emotional health by speaking with a professional. This can be a therapist (if you feel you need help tackling anxiety and depression issues), or even a money professional who can help you make a plan when you aren’t sure what to do.

Finally, try to take care of your physical health as much as possible. Engage in physical activity, and try to eat healthy. Do your best to get adequate sleep. Meditation and time for relaxation each day, even if it’s only for half an hour, can help you relieve stress and think clearer. You might be surprised to discover that your stress level goes down — and your health will improve — when you make it a point to take care of yourself.

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Tips on Buying your First Home with a Small Budget

This is it. You’ve decided to make the biggest purchase of your entire life and you’re all fired up about it. Congrats! You can already picture what it’s going to look like – gourmet kitchen, massive dining room, suite-like master’s bedroom, the work! Images of your dream house are slowly populating your mind like it was going out of style.

Hold on to those thoughts and keep them in a safe place for now, because I’ll burst your bubble a little bit. If you’re a first time buyer, chances are your first home purchase won’t be anywhere near your dream home. Unless you have rich parents or have a multi-million dollar business operating out of your kitchen, getting your dream home on your first buy is pretty rare. It’s not impossible, but rare.

Choose where you want to live

Location is probably as important as the house itself. The worst thing you can do is get an affordable and beautiful house in a crime riddled neighborhood. No wonder the houses are cheap! Do some legwork and ask around. Do your research. Don’t neglect the location of your new home because you’ll be living here for the foreseeable future. You must enjoy being in the area and it has to be safe for you and your kids. The distance to amenities will also affect your fuel bills, car maintenance needs and vehicle insurance. Will you be able to walk or bike to work or other frequently visited places?

Consider Starter Homes

You should really consider starter homes if your budget is a little tight and you’re just starting out as a family. Your space needs would probably be modest at best, and a well built 2-bedroom starter home can give you a roof over your heads. This wouldn’t be the house of your dreams, but it’s a good start and an investment you can either rent out or flip when you buy a bigger home.

Look for Fixer Uppers

Be on the lookout for fixer uppers in the area your targeting. These houses may look bad now, but imagine what it’ll look like once all the renovations are made. You can also get fixer uppers below market value if you know a little bit about real estate. If you don’t, look for a broker you can trust that will give you deals on houses below market value. The money you can save on housing costs can be used to renovate the house.

Keep an open mind about Condos

Many condos and townhouses have enough space for a small family and should also be considered when you’re looking to buy property for the first time. Look for condos with balconies, extra storage space and enough amenities to keep you occupied. Condos are priced competitively and are usually situated in the heart of the city. You’ll be near everything and you’ll never run out of things to do. Just don’t forget to factor in the monthly association dues.

Kick it Old School

Older houses made in the 1920’s to the 1970’s are more affordable than newly built ones. Consider the savings you’ll make when you get an old house that needs minor renovations versus a new build that’s probably 20% more expensive. Plus, you’ll get that old world charm that newer houses don’t have. Who knows, an old house may just put you a step closer to your dream home.

Your Funds

Where you source your funds is completely up to you. It can be in the form of family savings plus a loan or purely from a loan. You can source it from a bank or from any legitimate private lender in Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg or Vancouver just as long as the rates are good and you have flexible terms.

It’s all up to you now. What are you going to buy?