The emotions of money

how-is-your-money-feelingDid you wake up this morning counting your blessings or your bills? And when you think about your money is it with a feeling of hopeful anticipation or anxious dread? When you read or hear financial presentations, do you kiss your teeth or feel burdened by the thought that you are not earning enough or doing enough to invest?

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The thing is that we all feel something about money, and what we feel determines what we do. Can you recall a time when you felt flushed by money and you were ready to buy what you wanted without worry? Perhaps your partner draw came in and you felt great, or you won a Cash Pot number. Or how about a Christmas bonus? Remember that feeling of having extra cash?

Of course we don’t hold on to those great feelings for long, do we? Life has a habit of creating distractions in the form of expenses that quickly turn that feeling of financial joy into financial pain.

In 2015, global accounting firm PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PwC) conducted a survey of working adults in the US and found that 45 per cent of respondents said dealing with their finances is stressful. This year, PwC announced that financial stress was up, with 52 per cent of employees stressed about their finances. And its not just about bills. Financial stress is combined with your job or business issues, your health and relationships. All of this determines just how your money is feeling.

 So what can you do? Here is where we introduce the concept of financial wellness.

Forbes magazine defines financial wellness as a state of well-being where an individual has achieved minimal financial stress, established a strong financial foundation, and created an ongoing plan to help reach future financial goals. Let’s look at each element.


Dealing with financial stress

First, there is achieving minimal financial stress. This you say, is unrealistic in our current Jamaican economy. Well, it just may be in your best interest to work with a professional to manage your stress. According to Harris Interactive, a US-based human resources firm, stress over money was said to take both a mental and physical toll on workers, impacting health-related costs, among them:

• Twofold greater risk of heart attacks;

• Three times more likely to have ulcers or digestive tract issues;

• 44 per cent had migraines; and

• 50 per cent saw increases in anxiety and depression.

Stress of over money is clearly tied to other health related conditions that means you are not your best at home and at work.

Establishing a strong financial foundation

I am positive you have seen the many advertisements for financial institutions that talk about saving for your goals. We can assume then that the word “goal” is a bit familiar to the working population, at least. Yet, the question of what exactly is your goal is very subjective.

Is your goal one that is specific to your lifestyle? That is, are you saving for your child’s education and neglecting your retirement? Can you measure your results? Are they achievable? Do you have the resources — mental, physical — spiritual to achieve your goals? And do the goals take you towards the life you really want?

Creating an on going plan

In regards to reaching the life that you want, do you really know what that is? Or are you living your parent’s dream for you? Perhaps you are not really living the life you want and so you are struggling to build a financial foundation because of self-sabotage.

These are a few of the many emotional issues that determine how your money is feeling and we will delve more deeply into them each week on this column.

Dennise Williams, MBA (Banking & Finance) is a journalist, TV producer, certified practitioner NLP Coach, and has 15 years experience in the financial services industry. You can see more of her work at

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