When you're struggling with money, the internet can be a minefield. Have you ever stared at a friend's Instagram page in disbelief wondering how they can afford it all? Their life seems full of holidays, amazing food, and the latest fashion. How do they have it together when you struggle to make rent every week?
Social media breeds a culture of perfection where we’re pushed to pretend things are better than they are. It can seem like you are the only person struggling with money. You might feel embarrassed about your financial situation and try to keep up appearances. This isn’t a new phenomenon (one source says the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses'' dates back to 1850!) but it is certainly amplified in the environment of social media.
Our comparison culture can put heavy pressure on. But it turns out, no matter who you compare yourself to, they are most likely faking it.
The truth is, a recent survey reported that 3 out of 5 people fake their finances on social media.
It’s time to be real. No matter what appearances might lead us to think, the numbers show that most of us are struggling with money - and that can lead to detrimental effects.
Pretending to have it together affects our mental health
A recent survey reported that when it comes to finances, 28% would prefer to be stuck in a 2-hour traffic jam than think about it. If we aren’t being honest with ourselves, it’s no wonder so many people fake it online.
A further 27% said they would rather speak in public to a large crowd than talk about money. Considering that the fear of public speaking has been said to be greater than the fear of death, that is an incredible amount of anxiety put on just talking about money matters.
Two out of three people say they lose sleep due to a fear they are not "where they should be" with their money. This comes from comparing our situation to others when clearly that is mostly based on false assumptions.
The fear and anxiety around money worries impact our mental health. A survey of New Zealanders found that those who were struggling financially were:
Seven times more likely to be unhappy
Twice as likely to be stressed, and
Six times more likely to have poor well-being.
When over 80% of Kiwi Millennials report being concerned about money, mental health is a serious consideration. All of this anxiety can be relieved by getting comfortable with our finances.
By not sorting your finances, you miss out
Over 80% of adults report feeling guilty for going on holiday or shopping while behind with their finances.
When you feel like a financial mess, you feel guilty about spending. You hesitate when others invite you out. You feel like an outsider in conversations about holidays and celebrations because it's just so expensive. The pleasure of treating yourself to something nice gets canceled by feelings of remorse. You miss out on experiences that enrich life.
Guilt comes from a lack of planning. Imagine the freedom of knowing you have money set aside to spend on yourself each week. This can be a reality for you, no matter your situation. It involves making a plan for your money.
Money doesn’t have to be a source of worry and stress. When you spend your hard-earned dollars on things that you value, your relationship with money becomes more positive. You learn to put your money to work for you instead of being afraid to deal with it.
Take the stress away - sort your finances
If you are worried about money, getting help soon is the best way to stop things from getting worse. The good news is that it’s easier than you think.
One of the first things you can do is start talking about your finances with people you trust. This will help ease your mind and allow you to find ways to get back on track. You might have friends or family, or a neutral person like a mental health coach who is there to listen. You can always text 1737 to chat with a trained counsellor about anything.
The team at BetterSaver are here to help make it easy for you to get started on improving your money situation. The simplest step to beginning your financial journey is to sort your KiwiSaver fund. BetterSaver’s Fund Finder quiz takes only 5 minutes and we can switch you into a fund that gets you on track to meeting your goals and saving money. It’s that easy!
We have a wide range of tips and insights that we share regularly on our blog and socials. Check out our top savings tips, how anyone can make a budget (there’s more than one way), or get inspired by stories from others like Debt-Free Diva. We can help you avoid common debt traps and guide you to saving for your first home.
Finally, scheduling a meeting with a financial adviser will get you advice from an expert who has your best interests in mind. An adviser can help whether you have a little money or a lot, no matter what financial stage you are at. They can help you set a budget, start investing or work on getting into your first home. Check out 10 Ways a Financial Adviser Can Help You.
If you’re still unsure of how to start, get in touch with our team. We are here to help!