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From gas to groceries to housing, we're paying more these days. The strain can extend well beyond our wallets.

April is Financial Literacy Month. We're taking the opportunity to draw a potentially life-changing link between our financial health and our mental and physical health

According to various surveys:

  • 49% of women say financial stress has negatively impacted their mental and emotional health.
  • 40% of women also believe it’s damaged their physical health.
    • 46% of women have lost sleep due to financial stress. 
    • Ongoing financial stress can lead to health problems like headaches, migraines, gastrointestinal problems, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

How can we fortify our financial health? We enlisted the expertise of Joy Youngland, MS, MSW, LIMHP, CSW, a counselor with Best Care EAP. 


  • “Financial health is feeling secure with our ability to live within our means to pay for living expenses, pay down any debt, and save and invest for the future," says Joy Youngland, a licensed counselor with Best Care EAP. 

    She continues: "The first step toward saving for the future is to build an emergency fund. As a woman ages, hopefully more of her income can be devoted to saving and investing for long-term goals, such as retirement. The sooner we can start saving and investing for the future, the more the money will have an opportunity to compound and grow.”

    “Feelings of anxiety are often a sign that our financial health is taking a toll on our mental health.  If resources are limited, our ‘wants’ should take a backseat to our ‘needs,’ " says Joy Youngland, a licensed counselor with Best Care EAP. “Also, much of our anxiety about money arises when we buy impulsively. Making a budget and keeping it front and center in our minds helps ensure there is enough money for the essentials.” 

    The best way to make improvements in your financial health is to start today and make small, consistent changes. Over time, they can have a significant impact. 

    Joy Youngland, a licensed counselor with Best Care EAP, suggests we:

    • Make a budget. "Budgets help us have a road map to achieve financial health," Joy says. "Without a budget and an intent of tracking our expenses, it is easy to overspend." 
    • Go on a money diet for a day or a week.  Make it a game—how much can you save?
    • Experiment with one substitution for a discretionary spending habit (i.e. home-brewed coffee vs. specialty coffee drinks or packing a lunch vs. eating out)
    • Make saving for retirement automatic. Have a percentage of your paycheck go straight to a 401(k). Companies often match at least part of what you invest.

    “Being able to talk about finances and financial stress is a part of having a healthy relationship," says Joy Youngland, a licensed counselor with Best Care EAP.

    She continues: "Ideally, a couple needs to talk about their perspectives on money before they make a long-term commitment. If couples do not have an understanding of their differing financial perspectives, they will inadvertently create more stress for each other. I often recommend couples share how money was managed when they were growing up. 

    “Finding some compromises on financial perspectives can help a couple feel closer and grow in their relationship. The best way to reduce the stress of a talk about finances is to be curious about your partner’s views and experiences with money.”

    Educate Yourself

    "Any opportunity to learn about finances through podcasts, publications, and books is beneficial. Some faith organizations also have classes on managing finances," says Joy Youngland, a licensed counselor with Best Care EAP.  

    Seek Financial Advice

    "Take advantage of the information that company retirement accounts offer. Many offer an opportunity to meet with a financial advisor to discern if you are on track for retirement or meeting other goals such as paying for college," Joy says. "Knowledge reduces stress and anxiety, especially if the knowledge is applied to your individual situation."

    Reach Out for Help

    For those who are experiencing anxiety related to financial health, Joy says: "Most employers offer an employee assistance program (EAP) which offers a limited number of free sessions. If more sessions are needed, the EAP counselor can help find you a long-term therapist and you would then use your health insurance."