Anxiety, Lying Awake At 3am And Manic Spending Sprees – How Money Affects Our Mental Health

From the dread that courses through us before we look at our bank account to the physical relief of pay-day, money often determines how we feel more than we would like to admit.

If you think of mental health on a spectrum, from low-level anxiety all the way to manic depression, then money affects us at every juncture. And it’s a cycle. Poor mental health impacts how we manage money, while financial difficulty can trigger mental health issues.

‘People who have mental health problems – which is one in four at any given time in the UK – are three times as likely to be in problem debt,’ says Katie Evans, head of research and policy at the charity Money and Mental Health. ‘And of those with problem debt, half will have a mental health problem,’ she adds, highlighting how closely linked the two are.

Spending

Managing our money correctly takes concentration, will power, forward-planning and control. Even when we’re mentally thriving it can still be hard to budget for food correctly or to say no to a hen-do we can’t afford.

Mental health issues aren’t ‘an excuse’ for bad money management; it’s well recognised in the medical world that mental health problems affect our ability to control impulses.

‘Spending money is a thousand per cent a ramification of feeling anxious,’ explains 27-year-old Maxine, who suffers from general anxiety disorder. ‘Which is why, ironically, I’m expecting a couple of packages today.’ Being alone triggers Maxine’s anxiety, so she tries to socialise as much as possible, but that in itself causes problems, because socialising costs money she doesn’t have.

‘It’s a weird thing to talk about. I don’t know if friends understand. If you say, “I’m not drinking because of this issue” it’s like “OK, cool”. But if you say, “I’m not spending because I have an issue with overspending” – well I don’t think they’d know what to say.’

Even ‘social spending’, explains Evans, where you buy excessive gifts for friends to make up for a lack of self-worth, for example, is ultimately caused by fragile mental health. Keeping up with friends and social media both have a lot to answer for in exacerbating money related stress.

People who have mental health problems are three times as likely to be in problem debt

‘Seeing people with lots of nice things when I know I shouldn’t be spending can actually cause heart palpitations and a feeling of dread. I do wonder, would I be in so much debt if Instagram didn’t exist?’ Anna, a 24-year-old marketing executive from London tells me.

On the Bud Future Proof Podcast, money columnist Laura Whateley recommends some social media self-care when it comes to money management. ‘Don’t look at social media all the time, especially when you are you feeling really rubbish about yourself. Don’t look late at night or first thing in the morning. Also remember that not everything you see on social media is real.’

Influencer Katherine Ormerod chimes in on the same episode: ‘I think we all know that on social media you can very easily project a very different financial reality from the one you are actually living.’

Deep down most of us know that much of social media is another form of advertising, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to override the anxious comparative feeling it causes.

‘I think about money all of the time’

If you stress about money everyday, that’s a mental health problem. Although debt is intrinsically linked with depression, it’s not just people who don’t have enough money who stress about it.

‘I’m a little obsessed with saving’ Elizabeth Akanbi-Ogabi, founder of For Working Ladies tells me. ‘I’m not really saving for anything, I just like seeing it accumulate. I feel safe with savings. If I have to spend it, seeing those numbers dropping really stresses me out.’

‘It’s totally possible to feel anxious about money when you’re not broke,’ Ashley Agwuncha of Money Medics explains. Just as our mental health can see us hating our body no matter how able we are, or obsessing over unwelcome thoughts, we can have money urges, worries, doubts and compulsions while being objectively ‘comfortable’.

Another woman who wanted to remain anonymous confessed, ‘I have anxiety over money so bad and yet I’ve never been in debt, always had a job, own a flat and I’m saving for a second. I have immense guilt over any spending, even when l have a pot of money for my holiday I still can’t let it go.’

As Laura Whateley, who wrote the best selling book Money; A Users Guide shared on Future Proof, says: ‘I think people can have problems by being too obsessional with trying to save too much, and feeling too worried about spending any money at all. It’s important to have a bit of savings so you don’t fall into debt, because debt can be really, really difficult for people to cope with. But I also don’t think you should beat yourself up because you’re spending money.’

Very few of us have any kind of formal money education. Although we know what we’re doing is wrong, it’s hard to know how to get it right. It’s why many of us identify as ‘bad with money’.

As one young women put it, ‘the self-hatred for causing my own suffering is real.’

Manic spending sprees

Part of the diagnostic criteria of bipolar disorder is manic spending, so a doctor will look at a patient’s spending for evidence that a person has the condition.

‘I’ve found a pile of brand-new underwear, completely not the kind I would normally buy at the bottom of my wardrobe after a manic period,’ Judy, 62 told me.

It’s totally possible to feel anxious about money when you’re not broke

‘One of the common symptoms of bipolar can be increased impulsivity, which makes it harder to control your spending,’ explains Evans on why manic episodes of spending happen.

‘Bipolar disorder is characterised by people essentially being in a delusional state. They’re usually having grand visions of the future. Quite often that can be exciting new business plans or they’ll experience extreme generosity, so people go out and spend really large sums of money or give lots to charity during a manic period.’

Yet help often costs money

Even free can be too expensive when it comes to mental health treatment, especially for problems caused by debt or money stress.

Karen Corbett, a theraputic counsellor who offers free therapy for vulnerable, low-income patients, told me, ‘I have noticed particularly in my voluntary role, that a person’s financial circumstances really affect their access to assistance, even if the treatment costs nothing – having to take time off work unpaid, needing to pay for childcare, the cost of transport, it can all be too much.’

Ultimately, we need to integrate the conversation of money into our understanding of mental health. Because no matter how big, or how small, a constant worry about money is a mental health issue.

Whether it’s affecting your sleep, your libido, your relationships or your ability to earn, we must take money seriously as a mental health trigger. Take a deep breath, share your worries, and if you’re feeling tight chested, know you’re not alone.

If any of the issues discussed in the piece are impacting your life, find help at Mind, Money and Health and StepChange.

Alexandre Holder is the author of Open Up: The Power About Talking About Money

Australia 2019 Election Live Updates: Will Voters Pick a New Path?

“At the moment in Australia, the rich are getting richer, but the middle class are getting squeezed and those on fixed incomes are just falling behind,” he said.

“I have a different economic plan for Australia,” he continued. “My view is that if everyone, men and women, people in the bush, people in the city, the young and the old, all get an equal go, then what happens is — that’s a rising tide that lifts all boats.”

He also said that “we’ve got to take action on climate change.” Damien Cave

[Want Australia news in your inbox? Sign up for the weekly Australia Letter.]

Prime Minister Scott Morrison started the day campaigning in Tasmania, where a few close races could decide who wins the day, and he emphasized what his Liberal Party has been emphasizing since the campaign started: stability and economic management. The alternative, if the opposition wins, is chaos, he said.

“Australians take their decision and their choice very seriously,” Mr. Morrison said. “And at this election they do have a choice today. They have a choice between myself and Bill Shorten as prime minister. A government that knows how to manage money and a Labor Party that has never proven they know how to manage money.”

Context: In the United States, a direct appeal to financial management might sound a little too close to Wall Street for mass appeal, but Australia has compulsory superannuation, which means all workers have retirement funds tied up in a public-private finance system. With the opposition calling for changes to tax breaks for retirees and housing investors, comments about money management are not just for the wealthy. Damien Cave

If you invested $1,000 in Walmart in 2009, here’s how much money you’d have now

Retail giant Walmart reported fiscal first-quarter earnings Thursday that beat analysts’ expectations. Its shares closed up 1.4% at $101.31 after the company reported an adjusted quarterly profit of $1.13 per share, 11 cents a share above Wall Street forecasts.

If you invested in Walmart 10 years ago, that decision would have paid off. A $1,000 investment made on May 16, 2009, would be worth more than $2,700 as of midday May 16, 2019, for a total return just more than 175%, according to CNBC calculations.

Over the same period, the SP 500 returned 227%.

Sales at U.S. Walmart stores (open for at least 12 months) were up 3.4%, the biggest increase for the first quarter in nine years, according to the retailer. Analysts predicted growth of 3.3% according to figures from financial markets data provider Refinitiv.

CNBC: Walmart stock as of May 16, 2019.

E-commerce sales grew 37%, versus 33% last year. Overall, Walmart shares are up 18% from this point a year ago, bringing the retailer’s market cap to a whopping $290 billion. By comparison, Amazon shares grew 19% over the same period, while Target’s stock is down 3%.

While Walmart’s stock has mostly done well over the years, any individual stock can over- or underperform and past returns do not predict future results.

The company’s revenue came in below expectations, however: $123.93 billion versus $125.03 billion. Some industry experts are worried that the possibility of additional tariffs could hurt sales.

The White House released a list early this week of about $300 billion in Chinese goods that President Donald Trump could hit with tariffs as high as 25%. That includes clothing, sporting goods and other accessories.

“Increased tariffs will increase prices for customers, ” Walmart’s chief financial officer, Brett Biggs, said Thursday, but added that the company is “hopeful that an agreement can be reached” between the U.S. and China.

This map shows how much money a family of 4 needs to earn to get by in every US state

Depending on where you live in the United States, the amount you need to make to get by and support a family can vary by a lot. While a household of two adults and two children can manage on less than $60,000 a year in Tennessee, for example, it takes at least $88,000 a year to make ends meet in New York.

That’s according to updated data from MIT’s living wage calculator, which determines the minimum amount necessary to meet basic needs without dipping into poverty or relying on outside help. The model takes into account factors such as food, housing, child care and health insurance, in addition to other regular costs, and doesn’t include conveniences or luxuries such as restaurant meals, vacations or money left over for investments.

Here’s a closer look at what a living wage would be, before taxes, for a family of four in every U.S. state.

5 tips to help single parents better manage their money – Omaha World

Leia Baez is an Omaha native who works in government communications. She’s divorced and has one daughter, who she considers her mini-me. Leia loves spending time with family, being a mentor, cheering on the Huskers and doing anything fitness-related. You can follow her on Twitter @LeiaBaez or email her at leiabaez26@gmail.com.

Stop letting money ruin your love life. I’ve counseled 1,000 couples—and this is the key to a happy relationship

Stories like John and Barbara’s make up our financial belief systems — and they’re hard to escape. Even statements like “you must save 15% of your gross income for a secure retirement!” from a financial expert can become part of our belief systems.

But when you make an effort to understand the stories behind your partner’s financial beliefs, things will start to make more sense, your judgments will start to fade and you’ll find it much easier to be compassionate and see things from their point of view.

2. Let go of your ‘clinginess’

The problem, however, isn’t how your childhood stories shape your financial values — it’s how much you cling to them. Your “clinginess level” determines how much conflict you’ll have in your relationships. And if you and your partner both refuse to be flexible about your beliefs, it’s a no-win situation.

But shifting your belief systems should be a lot easier once you’ve learned the stories behind your partner’s financial priorities. The next step is to focus on finding common ground. Knowing what financial priorities you share will give the comfort and encouragement to make things work.

3. Work as a team to compromise

Once you’ve identified the things you agree on, start talking about the differences that are hurting your relationship.

As you’re having this discussion, don’t try to impose your beliefs on each other. In order to compromise, you must be willing to stretch yourself with new challenges.

Think about how you can take two different financial beliefs and turn them into one strong financial belief. It won’t always work out, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be honest. The objective is to build a shared foundation of financial beliefs.

Figure out how to align on your values and goals: Do you want to buy a home? Do you see children in your future? Do you want to retire early? These are all important matters to discuss.

4. Be vulnerable

Make no mistake: Things will get heated. Leave your ego at the door and remember that you’re a team. Let go of your need to be right and really listen to your what your partner is saying, even if what they’re saying means you might be wrong.

If you sense that you’re starting to get angry, tell yourself: Maybe I’m missing or not understanding something. Maybe there’s another way of handling this issue that I haven’t thought of. (It also helps to balance the serious tone with some humor).

And remember, your financial journey together doesn’t end after one conversation. Keep experimenting with different methods until you find a solution that works. Your situation as a couple may change, so keep scheduling time to follow up and discuss how things are going.

Marla Mattenson is a relationship and intimacy expert, specializing in coaching entrepreneurial couples. She teaches couples how to uncover the hidden patterns in their relationships and work using a non-traditional approach from her background in neuroscience and mathematics. In her 23 years of work, Marla has worked with more than 1,000 couples.

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3 tips to protect your investments, whether you manage your money or hire an adviser

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With the Dow plunging more than 600 points Monday, what’s ahead for the market.
USA TODAY

Years ago I decided to leave the investment business and return to graduate school.  It seemed a good time to hire an investment adviser to oversee our portfolios.

But I quickly realized that because of the hefty investment management fee we were paying the adviser, as well as the underlying fees (often hidden) in the funds the advisor chose, we were spending a great deal of money to achieve below-market returns.

I asked for a full accounting of our total fees paid. Our adviser seemed astonished by my request and exclaimed: “No one has ever asked us for that before!  I will have to create a custom spreadsheet to calculate the fees.”  And, so she did.

The “hidden” fees in the fund investments added an additional 50% to the advisory fee we were paying.

Soon I was managing our assets once more.

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Whether you decide to manage your assets (and I believe you can!) or hire an adviser, here are three tips to ensure your portfolio generates maximum return for your future. 

1. High fees are enemy No. 1:

William F. Sharpe (winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, 1990), published a 2013 paper entitled “The Arithmetic of Investment Expenses” in which he argues that “a person saving for retirement who chooses low-cost investments could have a standard of living through retirement more than 20% higher than that of a comparable investor in high-cost investments.” 

If you are investing in mutual funds and paying an adviser as I was, you will want to know and understand the total fee you are paying. Remember almost every adviser charges you on the value of your assets. So as your money grows, your adviser’s fee increases and so does the fee you are paying the mutual fund manager. Don’t be shy about asking your adviser to calculate the total fees you are paying. If industry averages apply you could be paying north of 2% annually. 

2. Less is more

When my dermatologist prescribed a daily application of Retin-A, I figured if one application was good for wrinkle reduction, two would be even better.  After a cortisone shot and a week in hiding, I learned a lesson most investors never grasp: less can be more. When too many investments are owned it is difficult to know exactly where the risk lies. Unintended concentrations or omissions can result, and they can increase risk or lower total return.  

Search your portfolio for redundancies or gaps. You and your adviser should know exactly what you own.  

3. Watch out for excessive trading or no trading

Frequent trading generates taxable consequences and high trading fees. Rarely have I seen it employed successfully. Conversely, when no transactions occur in a portfolio the market is making the decisions. Quarterly or semi-annual meetings with your adviser will ensure you understand her strategy and she is up to date on your objectives. 

Fees must be reasonable, diversification prudent but not excessive, and turnover should reflect your risk tolerance and objectives.   

It’s your money and your future. Own it.   

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Did the Wall GoFundMe Founder Use the Money to Buy a Yacht?

A crowdfunding campaign that raised millions in private donations to help build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border has long been the subject of controversy, but it gained new attention when an anonymous critic quoted in a 12 May 2019 blog post voiced a suspicion that the campaign’s originator, Brian Kolfage, had stolen wall funds and used them to buy a yacht.

The accusation was based on the source’s opinion, and no other evidence of wrongdoing was offered up in the post. The campaign’s founders have vehemently denied the allegation, stating that misappropriating funds in that manner would not even be possible.

“People don’t have to like or support our project, but the accusations that Brian or anyone is using our donors’ money for anything other than securing our border is really frustrating because we have gone above and beyond to make sure that isn’t the case,” said Dustin Stockton, a founder of We Build the Wall, the organization formed to manage the GoFundMe money.

Kolfage, a disabled Florida war veteran and vocal supporter of President Donald Trump, launched the “We the People Will Build the Wall” GoFundMe campaign in December 2018 during an impasse between Trump and Democratic members of Congress over wall funding. To date it is one of the highest-grossing GoFundMe campaigns in history, second only to the Times Up Legal Defense Fund campaign, which raised $24.2 million to help victims of sexual harassment and assault.

The campaign has been the subject of scrutiny since it started. Critics questioned whether a privately funded effort could realistically make a dent in what would be a monumental feat of planning and construction. Others pointed to the lack of evidence that any wall to date has come of Kolfage’s promises to build one with the monies collected. But on 12 May 2019, a critic of Kolfage took that scrutiny to the next level and accused Kolfage of outright theft.

In a 12 May 2019 post on the blogging platform Medium, Grant Stern, a Florida mortgage broker and writer for the liberal internet network Occupy Democrats, cited an unnamed source who voiced his belief that a yacht pictured on Kolfage’s Instagram account had been paid for with money from the wall GoFundMe.

The piece used the headline “SOURCE: Wall GoFundMe sponsor just paid for a ‘nearly’ $1 million yacht.” It quoted an unidentified source, described as a Trump supporter who purportedly knows Kolfage, as saying, “That money was supposed to be for the wall. I hate fuckers that take money under false pretense. Kolfage is using the wall money to fly private, range rovers boats, etc.”

The post prompted readers to write in and ask Snopes.com whether Kolfage bought a yacht with funds raised for the wall. Kolfage said it’s not only not true, but it would have been impossible.

He purchased the vessel in question for $675,000, paid mostly up front, after selling another boat in the summer of 2018 — a full six months before the border wall stalemate and GoFundMe campaign started, Kolfage told us in an email. He also sent us the bylaws for We Build the Wall, a new 501c(4) non-profit he is in the process of registering with the Internal Revenue Service to manage the funds and forthcoming wall-construction projects. Those bylaws preclude him and anyone else associated with the organization from taking a salary or otherwise using the money for private purposes.

The governing rules of the new organization also set out the creation of “finance and audit committees to ensure all spending is used towards the stated purpose of the organization, building segments of border wall,” Kolfage said in an email.

We also reached out to Stern, who told us that Kolfage had evaded his questions about the specifics of his finances, and added that “Brian Kolfage has no apparent sources of income” but recently bought two Yamaha boat engines for the newer yacht, “while his finances purportedly collapsed after Facebook shut down his fake news pages.”

It’s true that Facebook took down a network of websites operated by Kolfage in 2018. Kolfage used to own Right Wing News and FreedomDaily, sites that “frequently trafficked in false and politically divisive news,” as NBC reported. (Snopes.com frequently debunked stories posted by FreedomDaily when it was in operation.) Kolfage was accused of running an email-harvesting scam using those sites.

But Kolfage told us he has other streams of income, which include day trading and investment money. He received about $100,000 from a Department of Defense life insurance program after losing three limbs in Iraq; he invested the money in 2005, and it grew exponentially. He owns a coffee company and told us he has been “blessed in my life, and making smart choices with my money has given me the financial freedom to afford things that I have today.”

According to NBC News, Kolfage has a long history of fund-raising for various causes, and NBC reported that since 2013, “he’s used GoFundMe to finance professional projects and lawsuits and to buy land.”

More than 337,000 people originally donated to the GoFundMe, a figure that dropped to nearly 262,000 after it became clear that the campaign would not reach its stated goal of raising $1 billion. (Kolfage had initially pledged to refund all the money if the goal — or “significantly close” to it — was not reached.) At that point donors received refunds unless they actively directed GoFundMe to keep their money in the campaign.

Most of the money, $14 million, stayed in the campaign, although $6 million was refunded, according a GoFundMe spokesman. A single donation for $6 million made up the difference.

Medscape Physician Wealth and Debt Report 2019

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