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Debt Stress: What Are the Effects on Mental Health?

  January 23, 2020  |    #Eliminate Debt

The connection between LGBTQ mental health and debt stress

A recent survey of our community revealed that 82% of LGBTQ couples worry about money at least once a month, with 58% of respondents admitting to feeling anxious at least once a week! Mental health and debt stress in the queer community are closely intertwined.

LGBTQ mental health and debt stress 

How is our mental health being affected by debt stress? What can we do to fix it? Sam Schultz is the co-founder of Honeyfi, a budget app that helps couples manage their money together. Honeyfi completed its ‘Love and Money Survey,’ including 300 couples in the LGBTQ community, which identified couples’ unique money challenges and top goals. Sam returns to Queer Money® to cover the struggles LGBTQ couples face when it comes to money, beginning with a lack of emergency savings and ongoing worry about money—despite earning more than the median household income. He offers insight around how social media culture plays into the LGBTQ community’s spending choices and why it’s important for us to share honest stories about our money challenges. Sam shares the study’s findings on the large percentage of couples that don’t use any financial tools or resources and the connection between couples with poor credit and mental health concerns. Listen to understand the opportunities the LGBTQ community has to improve our collective relationship with money, reduce our debt stress and financial anxiety.

Learn more about LGBTQ mental health and debt stress:

Topics covered on LGBTQ mental health and money

The statistics around LGBTQ couples and savings

  • 33% couldn’t afford $500 emergency
  • 44% have less than $1K saved, 19% have $0
  • 52% concerned about lack of savings

The contradictory numbers regarding income and anxiety

  • 66% earn income higher than the median
  • 82% worry about money monthly
  • Impact of student loan, credit card debt

How social media plays into spending choices

  • Spend on dining out, travel and entertainment
  • ‘Keeping up’ leads to poor financial decisions

Honeyfi’s findings on financial tools and resources

  • 35% don’t use any tools/resources
  • Lack of awareness or ‘ostrich approach’

The link between financial preparedness and mental health

  • 35% not financially preparing for future
  • Mental health suffers from resulting worry

The data on LGBTQ couples with bad credit

  • 55% report fighting daily, weekly or monthly
  • 100% worry monthly, 86% weekly, 51% daily

Why we need to share honest stories about money

  • Avoid the same mistakes
  • Inspire to move forward (seems doable)

The Honeyfi app features you need

  • Helps start, keep the conversation going
  • Integrate finances but control what’s shared
  • Track budget, bills and spending
  • Navigate life events, save for goals together

Resources for LGBT mental health and debt stress

How to manage your debt stress and other money issues

First, try to remember that you are not alone. It’s likely that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions of others, who have gone through and gotten out of the same financial situation you’re in. Knowing this can help lift some of the burdens of guilt we have when we think we’re the only “screw up.” Second, the past is the past. Let your mistakes from the past go. I know this is easier said than done because I too have stressed about money and my past mistakes all too often. The best way to let go of the past is to stop dwelling on it and remind yourself regularly that you’re getting better. A great way to do this is to say it with a mantra; words you repeat regularly, such as, “I am better with my money today and my future is getting improving.” Third, stress is a form of poor mental health that, if not checked, can have lasting effects. Get the help you need to deal with any mental health issues that arise from your financial situation. Finally, create a plan, a series of small steps, that you can take over the next week, month or year to create habits that lead to long-term changes. Our Debt Lasso Method is a great way to pay off debt faster than any other plan – including the Snowball and Avalanche methods – improves your credit score and saves money. The Debt Lass Method is a great first step to getting your money under control.

See more about how LGBTQ money and debt stress are apart of your financial wellness:

What stress does to the body

According to the Mayo Clinic, stress can cause headaches, muscle tension and pain, chest pain, fatigue, loss of our sex drive, upset stomach and prevent us from sleeping.

How stress affects your mental health

Stress can cause depression, anxiety and mood swings, making many irritable and angry and causing loss of motivation for other aspects of life. This was definitely the case with me. I was irritable, with mood swings often left me feeling overwhelmed.

How stress affects your health

Naturally, when we don’t feel good or we have negative emotions, our desire, due to how our brains have evolved over thousands of years, is to eliminate those feelings. To do this, many people stop exercising, seek solace in food, drinking, smoking or drugs. All of these have a negative effect on the body in the short- and long-term.

Debt stress causing health problems

Debt stress is no different than other forms of stress. Our bodies react. Our emotions change. We physically start to show the symptoms of stress. Stress from debt has been shown to increase mental health issues, a leading cause of suicide. In fact, individuals who commit suicide are eight times more likely to have debt. If you feel you’re near this point, please seek help. As Honeyfi’s study revealed, LGBTQ folks definitely worry about money. To alleviate this stress, we must take action.

How to manage your anxiety caused by debt stress

One difficulty with debt stress is that we often don’t where to turn. We know we need help, but too often help with anxiety is costly. Seeing a therapist or doctor can cost $300, $400 even $600 a month in co-pays and ongoing costs for each visit. Even with some sliding scales, the cost can add to our financial stress. We have a solution for you. One that is much more affordable than many traditional forms of health and mental care.

Note: This article contains affiliate links, meaning we’ll receive payment at no cost to you if you buy through these links. We only recommend products we use or thoroughly vet and would recommend to our moms.  Buying too many of these is how you live fabulously broke. To live fabulously with financial security, start here.

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