As we continue the series on the effects of financial health on various aspects of overall health, we’re now realizing that they're all intertwined. Being financially healthy or financially unhealthy can have a tremendous impact on all areas of life whether directly or indirectly. While that impact can be negative, it can also be positive and empowering but that is all decided in how we approach our finances and what we prioritize in our financial journey.
In this article, we’ll explore ways in which your wallet can play a role in your social health and ways to lessen the negative impact.
WHAT IS SOCIAL HEALTH?
We’ve addressed physical and mental health and while those may be more commonly discussed, social health is equally important and contributes to all aspects of health, too. Social health is defined as our ability to interact and form meaningful relationships with others. This includes how we interact with family, friends, significant others, and society.
According to the National Institute of Health, strong social relationships are linked to a longer life. On the other hand, poor social ties are linked to loneliness, social isolation, poor health, depression, and shortened life span.
HOW DOES FINANCIAL HEALTH AFFECT SOCIAL HEALTH?
1. Comparison and an Increased Pressure to “Fit In.”
Social health can be affected by the increased pressure to fit in when comparing to lifestyles of friends and family members. Many relationships have an influence on how we decide to spend our money. Whether we are influenced by what those around us are wearing, what they are doing, where they are going, or how they live, it is easy to compare our lives to what we see in the lives of others.
This pressure and comparison can cause:
- Increased spending as we make purchases to keep up with those around us.
- Low self-esteem as we may feel as if we can’t compare to the lifestyles we see of our friends or on social media.
- A general feeling of discontentment.
- Resentment towards family, friends, or others in the community.
Comparison can really take a hit on our wallets, specifically by influencing the purchases we make and the way we approach our budget. Being influenced by those around us in this way can lead us to make poor financial decisions or even spend money we don’t have, putting us in stressful financial situations.
2. Barriers to being Involved.
Poor financial health can impact our social health by preventing us from being able to join in on various opportunities with our friends and family. When we’re not financially stable or in the middle of financial crisis, it can be difficult to join dinners, trips, outings, or events since these things come with a price tag.
As a result, there are times when we can’t be involved in some plans which can leave us feeling isolated, lonely, and sad.
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME THE AFFECTS OF FINANCIAL HEALTH ON SOCIAL HEALTH?
1. Talk About It.
Share where you’re at with those closest to you! While it may seem miniscule, talking about your current situation can truly make a world of difference. By sharing your financial situation, you’re able to allow others to understand how they can support you! While they may not be able to “fix” your situation, you may be able to work out solutions to help you stay connected and involved without the financial burden that can follow with dinners and outings.
When you have these conversations with those around you, you can ask for consideration when making plans. Instead of the friend group planning expensive outings, ask the group to consider movie nights at home, a hike, or another fun activity that isn’t costly.
2. Realize that Everyone is Unique.
While it may seem as if everyone around you is “living their best lives” and able to do a lot, it is important to remember things may not always be what they seem! Social media, specifically, can falsely represent people as happy, successful, and flawless always when that is usually not the case. Keep in mind that everyone’s journey is unique, and others most likely share similar struggles which may not be represented in what they choose to share on social media or with friends and family.
It’s important to make the decisions that are best for you, even if they stray from what those around you are doing! It is easy to convince ourselves that we “should” be doing, going, or buying but making decisions that will propel you on your journey to financial wellness might just be what fosters more happiness and freedom.
To read more on how social media affects our wallets read our article!
It’s important to pursue balance when it comes to financial health and social health!
While finances can greatly affect your social health (and vice versa), it doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Prioritizing a balance in social outings and money-savvy decisions might just be the thing that encourages your friends and family to do the same. The people we surround ourselves with absolutely have an impact on who we are and how we make decisions, but they don’t have the final say. Always keep in mind that you have the power to make the decision that is best for you!
While it can be difficult to balance financial, physical, mental, and social health, know that it is possible. Spero Financial is here to support you along the way with free financial education resources and certified counselors who are equipped to offer a personalized approach to your finances. Find educational resources that are helpful for your situation and schedule an appointment with a certified counselor today!