As we approach the end of the week that we mark as "Mental Health Awareness Week" in the UK, I'm taking a moment to put pen to paper about some thoughts I've had.
My first thought is that although a week seems like a derisory amount of time to afford such an important and diverse topic, I do believe initiatives like this do help us refocus and refresh our priorities, so here I am jumping on the bandwagon so to speak! Please forgive me for any irritation caused!
But what has been occupying my mind, is as financial planners we are acutely aware of the role money plays in our mental health. We see the stress and worry it can cause and the difficult life stages that are associated with money, be it bereavement or divorce. Even when people are on the receiving end of a windfall, it often doesn't bring the immediate joy that some would imagine. But of course, is there a more stressful situation than not having money? Not having the means to provide the very basic necessities in life?
The role of money in mental health is often overlooked. Freedom from financial worry is very powerful, it can't replace relationships, it can't overcome grief, but financial security frees us to find joy and meaning in all the other areas of our lives. A tremendous amount of time, effort and mental energy can be freed up once you get your finances in order. Sometimes this can just be having a plan to get you out of debt, a plan to achieve home ownership, a plan to retire, a plan for what to do if something goes wrong. Having a financial plan to help you achieve short and long term goals is one of the best ways to help overcome anxiety about the future and help us live in the moment.
I must direct you to a wonderful little book written by one of my Twitter friends, Chris Budd of Ovation Finance in Bristol. A highly regarded Financial Planner, Chris felt passionately about the role of financial planning in wellbeing and took time out to write "The Financial Wellbeing Book"
It really gets to the heart of why financial planning is so important and why we are so committed to what we do. I happen to have a spare copy sitting on my desk so drop me a line via the social platforms or firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll draw the names out of a hat to send you a copy!
If you don't win it. definitely get a copy. it's available on Amazon.