Margarita Bertsos with Thrive Global spoke with Rianka about her advice on dealing with financial stress
When you think about your personal relationships, your relationship with money may not be the first that comes to mind. But it’s an important one that impacts your life in more ways than you might assume, affecting both your physical and emotional well-being. According to the American Psychological Association, money is a somewhat or very significant source of stress for the majority of Americans (64%). Constant worry and stress over finances can be a literal pain — causing tense muscles, headaches, even stomach problems. What’s more, as Dr. Robert Lustig, emeritus professor in pediatric endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, noted in The New York Times, “every chronic disease we know of is exacerbated by stress.”
Clearly, nurturing your relationship with money can lead to improved health, less stress, and the peace of mind you need to show up optimally for all the other relationships in your life. “Not to have to spend mental bandwidth every single day stressing about money is huge,” says Erin Lowry, a personal finance expert and the founder of BrokeMillennial.com. “Our brain only has the capacity to handle so much in a given day, and if there are a lot of different factors that are stressing us out, including money, that’s going to keep us from living up to our full potential.”
To help you reap the well-being benefits of reducing financial stress, Thrive chatted with Lowry, as well as Rianka Dorsainvil, a Certified Financial Planner and founder of Your Greatest Contribution, a financial planning firm serving small businesses and multigenerational individuals from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Their lessons — which come from personal experiences — can transform your relationship with money in 2020 and beyond.
Put on your financial oxygen mask first
Rianka Dorsainvil saw firsthand how personal finances can have a ripple effect on not just our emotional health, but also our physical health. Watching her aging grandmother become ill and need dialysis, Dorsainvil assumed retirement would be an option. “I said, ‘Nana, you’ve been contributing to your retirement fund throughout your entire life, so now you should be able to take money out and live off of it. But I had assumed wrong.’” Her grandmother, who was the first to give of herself — and her bank account — her entire life, couldn’t retire because she wasn’t prepared financially for it. Witnessing that was difficult for Dorsainvil, but led her to develop a mantra she regularly uses with her clients: “Put on your own financial oxygen mask before assisting others.” When it comes to saving and planning for retirement, stop thinking of it as something you’ll do if there’s any money left over, says Dorsainvi. Make it your default to “pay yourself first” — before you dole out funds elsewhere.