• August 6th, 2020

Financial anxiety and mental health

I bet you probably at times find yourself wondering why most of our worries are about money, besides all talk of budgeting and daily financial advice in magazines, newspapers and even on social media. You may probably wonder why money appears to be one of the most sensitive issues and often happens to be a source of most people’s anxiety and even serious health mental issues.

You may have also tried to read as many books and watch loads of videos on YouTube in the hope that they may transform your financial life but in vain – and you also realise that for as long as you have known, you have had 99 problems and money has always been one of them. But it is also not your fault. So, stop beating yourself up for things that you may not be directly or may only be partly responsible for.

Firstly, the formal education system has no regard for financial literacy to ensure that by the time you graduate, you have mastered money matters and you get your journey to financial freedom begin. Your accounting lessons were also more focused on a business balance sheet and not necessarily to get you to start with managing your pocket money. So how were you supposed to get a first-hand experience without any experiential learning, neither do you as a family even take time to sit and have serious and honest talks about money matters?

But it’s not your family’s fault either because they too never did it and everyone managed to get through by trial and error - then a lucky one cracks it after learning from a couple of devastating lessons. The hope was that the one who eventually cracks it gets to honestly share their experience to help their generation become financially enlightened but instead enjoyed being ahead of the herd and the power it comes with.
 It may be a little too late to know that the first seven years of a child are the most important for anything that they are taught during that period they become very good at. So maybe if we knew that then, things could have turned out differently for us. Unfortunately, most of the memories we would have from our upbringing about money are about lack and scarcity – not abundance, and hence our mental reference for the rest of our lives when it comes to financial matters.

As a result, we may go through our academic years excelling at every one of our subjects and modules only to fail financially in the end. Our financial troubles may even start at the dawn of our academic success as we enter the working class and often feel the need for material acquisition to express our hard-earned success. What we often don’t realize is that we may start on a bad foot by falling into a debt trap which may take us longer and cost us more to recover from. And the sad part is that, by the time we realize this, we are almost drowning in a bottomless pit of debts.

And you can just then imagine the adverse life experiences we may have as we deal with mental and emotional health issues as a result of the uninformed financial decisions we have taken. But the good news is that, with acceptance and admission of our mistakes, it’s never too late to turn things around and there is no better year to do so than in 2020.

• Oshimwenyo is published every Friday in the New Era newspaper with contributions from Karlos Naimwhaka.

Staff Reporter
2020-05-08 10:02:47 | 2 months ago

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