According to highly esteemed medical establishments like the Mayo and Cleveland Clinics, dying of a broken heart is a real thing. It’s called Broken Heart Syndrome (a.k.a. stress cardiomyopathy in medical terms). Although its symptoms mimic a heart attack, it’s caused by a sudden physical or emotional stress that causes a rapid weakening of your heart muscle.
So why are you reading about broken heart syndrome in a financial blog post?
Because one of the factors that could cause this syndrome is money. Money problems, a sudden loss of money or even a sudden influx of money can trigger this syndrome due to stress. If you don’t already have enough reason to get your finances in order, this one should get your attention.
Using the medical analogy, we can classify money issues as acute (severe and sudden) or chronic (long term and sustained).
Let’s start with the acute money issues. These are big surprises like a significant inheritance you weren’t expecting or winning the lottery. They can also be less pleasant like losing a job or being hit with a large unexpected expense that you don’t have the money to cover.
It’s difficult to predict what will happen in life so covering every possibility isn’t feasible. However, by planning adequately, you can reduce the risk that you will be hit with a surprise that will derail you both physically and financially! The old adage, “Plan for the worst, hope the best” works really well here and can help prevent any money surprises that might literally break your heart. The preventative care to minimize a broken heart from an acute money issue is to have a fully funded emergency savings. This will help you absorb any unexpected expense that could knock you off your feet.
Preparing to deal with a surprise windfall is a little harder. There’s not a lot of constructive work to do other than general well being. Make sure you’re always taking care of your mind, body, spirit, and finances and hope for one of those windfall surprises!
What about the chronic money problems? These are the problems that never seem to go away: living paycheck to paycheck, never ending credit card debt, not having enough cash to pay bills, unchecked spending habits or overwhelming debt. These cause the kind of stress that slowly eats away at you. Every time you use your credit or debit card, you think about it. When bills are due, you think about it. It’s that pit in your stomach kind of feeling. Often, people in this situation tend to ignore their feelings because they feel helpless and don’t know how to get out of it. It’s pushed out of sight to be out of mind but your body knows it’s still there and holds the stress.
In a way, chronic money problems are the easiest to deal with because there aren’t any surprises to catch you off guard. Well, you might be surprised at your credit card bill if you’re not aware of your spending, but I think you know what I mean. You know the situation every month; the same bills, the same feeling of not knowing what to do and sometimes, the same feeling of helplessness. Fortunately, there are solutions to the specific individual problems whether it’s paying off debt, learning to live on budget, breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle, or dealing with student loans.
You can find courses or advice on dealing with these issues at Your Money Line or you can contact us. If you’re stuck and feel like you have too many problems to deal with, or you don’t know where to start, we can help! This is what we do best: help you de-stress by working with you to figure a plan forward with your finances.
Isn’t it time to let the stress go? Call us or schedule an appointment here.
Gayle Evezich, AFC® is a Senior Financial Concierge at Your Money Line and personal finance author. Gayle’s greatest joy is to help others find comfort with their money through financial empowerment. When not working or donating her services, you can find Gayle hiking, cooking creative vegan food, traveling or reading scandalous murder mysteries!