Over 45 to 50 percent of first marriages in America end in divorce. The primary reason is money. 60 percent of Americans have taken anti-depressants for two years or longer, 14 for ten years or longer. Eight out of ten Americans report being stressed. The top ten reasons Americans report for being stress are job related, starting with low pay and ending with the fear of job loss.
The common thread among these issues is money. The third most popular 2014 New Year’s resolution was a combination of spend less and save more. Money related issues cause much angst, despite Americans consistently placing money related goals at the top of their priorities. Despite seemingly being a priority, Americans continue to fail with money related goals.
What does this do to our peace of mind? How does this affect our sleep?
There are enough reasons why Americans don’t succeed with their financial goals to write a book. We may, in fact, do that one day. For now, we want to share four ways to improve your sleep. Ultimately, what keeps American’s up at night as it relates to money is the lack of living honestly.
Most Americans know what they should do with their finances, but don’t. This friction with core values causes stress and stress related diseases and symptoms, one of which includes lack of sleep.
Below are four not-so-secret tricks to improve your sleep. The sooner you start any of these, the faster you’ll count sheep at night.
1. Live Below Your Means
The first step to a better night’s sleep and get your finances in order are to live below your means. For most people, it’s not about how much you earn. It’s about how much you save. A change in this behavior not only helps improve sleep because it gets your finances in order, but it reduces the stress of the rat race.
This financial solution reduces and, in some cases, eliminates the need to perform at the top of your game at work day in and day out, year in and year out. It reduces the stress caused by mistakes and the fear of mistakes. It reduces the need to always strive for promotions, raises and to beat the other guy to fight inflation.
Those goals aren’t bad in and of themselves. If they are honest goals and based on motivation and drive, that’s all well and good. The problem comes when they are goals simply to improve your financial situation. If these goals are the remedy to your financial situation, you financial situation will only worsen. There are people who earn $50,000 a year and have no debt. There are people who earn $250,000 a year and are drowning in debt. The latter scenario causes relationship, sleep and health problems.
2. Pay Off Your Debt
Once you start to live below your means, you’ll have money to spare. With some or all of your spare money, pay off your debts. Fundamentally, no one likes to owe someone or something else anything. Owing money to friends and family stresses those relationships. Receiving monthly bills, past due notices and phone calls from bill collectors stirs negative emotions inside us that add different kinds of stress. Eliminating these negative experiences reduces stress, which reduces the release of cortisol and epinephrine in your system, letting you hit the Zzzzzzs more easily.
3. Save Your Money
Once your debt is manageable or paid off, save your money. Our first recommendation is always to save at least $500 to $1,000 as a personal insurance fund. This insurance fund prepares you in case anything negative happens, such as a job loss; your boss is an ass, car wreck or health problems.
Once you’ve saved the initial $500 to $1,000 and your other finances are in order, save between three to six months worth of living expenses. This is likely a significant amount of money, so it will take time. It will expedite when you live below your means and have no debt.
The peace of mind that comes from having extra money in the bank is incredible. This reduces stress and the cortisol and epinephrine released in your body when stress occurs. You’ll switch from counting sheep at night to counting dollars and you’ll doze off in no time.
4. Invest Your Money
Once you have a significant personal insurance account, invest your extra money. This is how people who earn less than $100,000 a year become millionaires. They make the money they work to earn work for them. Click here to read 10 Simple Steps to Investing.
Job is the acronym for “Just Over Broke”. That’s not true, as far as we know, but it makes a valid point. Most people don’t become rich from their wages. Regardless of wages, though, anyone can invest. People become rich from investing.
When you invest and invest for the long term, you benefit from the time value of money and compounding interest. When you invest regularly, you benefit from dollar cost averaging. These three phenomena are what we call the magic money tricks.
Once your money works for you, your reliance on your job or jobs decrease. Your reliance on someone or something else decreases.
With enough savings and investments, you no longer need someone or something else for financial support. You are no longer at the mercy of someone or something else. You will no longer live paycheck to paycheck and be stressed about known and unknown expenses.
This is why these four tips guarantee a better night of sleep. Less internal and external stress will let you go to bed each night with peace of mind. Better sleep and less stress will improve your health which, by the way, reduces medical costs and saves money over the long-term.
The benefits of these four tips are numerous. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be.