Why Mental Health Matters for Your Money

 

Did you know that 1 in 5 people face mental health issues during their lifetime? That means the odds of you, a family member or someone you know being affected by mental health are high. Issues related to mental health can come in a variety of forms such as anxiety and depression and they don’t only affect a person’s sleep, daily functionality and relationship – they also affect your money.

The cost of struggling with mental illness

According to Manulife, 44% of long-term disability claims made by employees are mental health related. But while getting help can come with a steep price tag, providing vital care for those who need it is worth its cost in spades.

Untreated depression can cause a variety of long-term health complications from chronic illnesses such as heart disease and pain perception to trouble sleeping. The cost to treat long-term illnesses, without health insurance, can quickly add up – and become another source of stress and depression.

Symptoms of anxiety include unease and a change in personality traits such as compulsive behavior or panic attacks. Compulsive behavior can lead to impulse purchases and binge-spending. When someone feels out of control internally, it can easily crossover to external actions.

How can you help someone affected by mental health?

The best way to help someone who is suffering is to be open to the conversation. Unfortunately, even though mental health affects a lot of Canadians, there is still a stigma relating to the condition.  For that reason, some people are reluctant to talk their feelings and express what they’re going through. However, if you’re unable to talk about the causes of stress, anxiety and depression, how will you get the professional help you need to get better?

The first step is to encourage your friend or family member to seek professional treatment. According to Depression Hurts “the goal of any treatment is to help you feel more like yourself again so that you are able to enjoy the things you used to. To do so means finding the right treatment to address and alleviate all of your symptoms. Also, the goal of treatment goes beyond just getting better it is about staying better.”

Your employer can help too

Offering extended mental health benefits is one way that employers can encourage employees to seek help. Employers can also partner with leading mental health organizations to keep employees informed about the causes, effects and symptoms of mental health issues. This will help spot the signs from onset and detection can enhance treatment options.

If you believe in positive mental health, review your health insurance policy to see if you and your loved ones are covered. This is the first step in improving your quality of life – physically, mentally and financially. If you have questions about health, critical illness or long-term disability insurance, please contact me anytime, I’m happy to help.

 

 

 

 

Helping your kids increase their financial literacy

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“Since I graduated from high school, not one person has asked me to find the value of X.”

We hear this comment all the time, and it’s generally meant as a joke, but it echoes what many think about our education system – that it’s a bit heavy on things that aren’t “real life” important, and light on things that are.

Take the subject of financial literacy, for example. It’s one that hasn’t received the attention many think it should. Topics that become vital in adult life – like the use of credit, or the importance of saving – are ones many students receive little guidance on in high school, until they’re forced to learn about them the hard way - through experience.

Fortunately, we’re seeing some provinces take action to improve this. For instance, Ontario is rolling out a pilot project to introduce a financial literacy course in 28 high schools, with hopes that a full course will be available provincewide in September 2018. Most other provinces are also making efforts to improve children’s know-how in this area.

But in the meantime, there are plenty of ways you can help your children become more financially literate – no matter how old they are. Here are a few links with great ideas on how to introduce your children to good financial habits

Canadian Living published this piece on the dos and don’ts of teaching kids about money:

http://www.canadianliving.com/life-and-relationships/money-and-career/article/the-dos-and-don-ts-of-teaching-your-kids-about-money

Here’s a great online resource created by the Manitoba Securities Commission, called “Make It Count.” It’s got a few activities and tips that help kids incorporate money management into their daily routines.

http://www.makeitcountonline.ca/msc/parents/

Finally, this page on the Investor Education Fund’s website is devoted to financial education when raising a family. There are some resources on this page with content related to teaching teenagers about financial literacy.

http://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/en/life-events/raising-a-family/Pages/default.aspx#.WNk5_m_ytpg