Tag Archives: money

In Denial About Money?

Could you be in denial about money? An article by the APA(1) has identified the warning signs if you are. They begin with the concept that, “money is stressful.” This was the result of an annual survey asking people their top source of stress. Of course, it’s natural to try to avoid stress especially if it’s painful in some way. That’s where we get into trouble because avoiding financial issues only tends to worsen them.

Here are the warning signs they mention:

a. You try to put money and finances out of your mind

b. You avoid talking about money

c. You avoid opening bank or credit card statements

d. You don’t know what your credit score is

e. You don’t know your net worth.

We all have these behaviors to some extent and some of them keep changing like d and e. But, as anything in psychology, it’s the degree or severity of these behaviors that make it significant. I’m a psychotherapist and prior stockbroker, so I understand that your relationship with money is often a result of past experiences and future expectations.

When I say relationship with money, I mean your individual perception of its importance and what emotions come with that perception. For example, many people who lost money in the crash of 1929, never invested in the stock market the rest of their lives. This past experience created anxiety and distrust of the markets and clouded their future expectations. This generation had a distrustful relationship with money as a result of being traumatized with sudden and unpredictable losses. The emotional memory of this trauma was never forgotten.

Women also have a different relationship with money. Women don’t view money as an end result, but as a means to get somewhere. Women also do not discuss finance and business in their personal relationships as much as men. Thats because their priorities are different. However, that is different than consciously avoiding talking about money which is a form of denial.

If you feel the warning signs pertain to you, they recommend a few steps like keeping track of your income and spending or make a budget. Establish a spending plan of your priorities. Set up automatic saving like a 401k or IRA. Use software programs to assist you with the above.

Of course, everyone should have a budget with priorities and it’s easy to find a template on the internet if you are just getting started. Automatic savings are set up at your work. They do not suggest any specific software. In addition, I would certainly add, 1. Get more financial education-read and take classes. 2. Consult a financial pro before investing 3. Consider using cash vis-a-vis credit cards to reduce spending. 4. Understand your personal relationship with money especially your past traumas and risk tolerance 5. Join an investment club or start one of your own 6. Consider downsizing your lifestyle 7. Consider occupational re-training to increase your income. 8. Assess you social security to determined future income 9. Be willing to work into retirement if necessary. In other words, make learning about money and investing an essential and fun priority. L. Johnson

AmericanPsychological Assoc., Feb 2015. ‘Face the numbers: Moving beyond financial denial.’ Retrieved on 4-22-2015 from: http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/financial-avoidance.aspx

Meditate for Health and Saving

It may surprise some that you can meditate for health and savings. There are mountains of studies regarding the many health benefits of meditation. One study (1) that summarizes others breaks down the benefits into five categories. The first is stress reduction, which affects almost every system in our bodies. The sympathetic nervous system is calmed, which reduces the cortisol and adrenaline that are correlated with stress. Meditating facilitates relaxation for sleep or before a stressful event.

Transcendental Meditation also lowers the risk of heart disease and has been known to lower the incidence of strokes, heart attack, and death compared to non-meditators. The study reports that through T.M., heart disease can be lowered by nearly 50% and high blood pressure can be managed also. I know too many middle-aged people who are on hypertension medications, and fail to follow other healthful behaviors like exercise, sodium reduction, and meditation. TM is apparently the only meditation practice that has been proven to lower blood pressure and to get approval from the American Heart Association. Its benefits also help manage depression, in that mood becomes more stable, and also lowers anxiety.

The financial benefit of reduced medical expenses seems a little confusing at first. But, “Inpatient days decreased by more than 50% in every age category, children, young and older adults and out-patient visits were reduced by 47% to 69%. Surprisingly, admissions for benign and malignant tumors dropped 55%, heart disease by 87% and more than 30% for infectious diseases. (1)” Less doctor visits and medications simply means we save more money.

These figures are too meaningful to overlook and can apply especially well in retirement. In order to understand this, both inpatient and outpatient visits dropped because meditation reduces our response to pain. For us to see a doctor outside of our routine visits, we usually need to feel discomfort or distress. Tumors and infections tend to drop as a result of an improved immune response, while lower heart disease from deep relaxation is already documented. The conclusion is that stress and anxiety compound or even create health problems that we normally would not have.

Taking 15 to 20 minutes once or twice a day to meditate is an enjoyable period of calmness in a hectic day. I meditate in the morning for alertness and at night for relaxation. I go to the doctor so little, I’ve had no need for insurance for over 20 years.        L.J. www.creativeretirementforwomen.com

(1)Garcia, M.(6-10-0213) “Five reasons transcendental meditation is good for your health” voxxi.com. Retrieved on 2-11-2014 from: voxxi.com/2013/06/10/transcendental-meditation-tm-good-for-health/