Two new studies suggest that your mental state – specifically being distracted and experiencing stress – can have a serious, negative impact on your finances.
Northwestern Mutual recently surveyed 1,000 Americans 25 and older to analyze their financial tenacity and self-discipline. Not surprisingly, the bulk of those polled admitted they were lagging in those areas.
According to the “Stick With It” study, three out of four Americans (74%) feel that today’s fast-paced society makes it tougher for them to focus and remain on track when it came to achieving long-term goals.
If being distracted by today’s demands – whether it’s family obligations, friends on Facebook, work or even leisure activities – takes our focus off long-term objectives like saving for retirement, it’s little wonder that the vast majority of Americans haven’t saved enough for the future.
But even in a culture where everything around us is getting more immediate, the news isn’t all bad.
“The good news is, Americans appear to be adapting,” says Greg Oberland, Northwestern Mutual executive vice president. “The people who participated in this study said loud and clear – the best way to stay focused is to take baby steps, expect setbacks and never let yourself off the hook. In short: Don’t expect it to be easy, but stick with it.”
In a separate survey, from Financial Finesse Inc., researchers found that women in particular deal with high levels of financial stress and anxiety.
The company commissioned a study of more than 1,000 men and women in the U.S. and discovered that 28% of women experience “high” or “overwhelming” financial stress. By comparison, just 17% of men categorized their financial stress levels as “high” or “overwhelming.”
Researchers theorized that one reason for women’s higher stress levels is that women may generally feel more personally responsible for their children and households.
Whatever the reason, the implications of this research are staggering. At a time when Americans — both male and female — are battling everything from high unemployment to an ongoing foreclosure crisis, it’s vitally important that people struggling with financial problems maintain the mental clarity necessary to seek out help or come up with their own solutions to what ails them financially.
Otherwise, despondency and despair will kick in, limiting the future economic prospects for individuals and families throughout the U.S..
The following tips can help you cope with extreme financial stress. And if you know someone else who may be completely overwhelmed by his or her economic circumstances, share this advice with them. Read the rest of Lynnette’s article on Daily Finance.