The number one cause of stress for Americans is finances and the money stress may be affecting your health. Financial professional, Cathy DeWitt Dunn, appears on Fox 4 KDFW to discuss Money Stress and how to deal with it.
Interviewer: The number one stressor for Americans is finances, and the stress really could be impacting your health. So financial professional from Cathy Dewitt Dunn from Dewitt and Dunn joins us now. Good morning Cathy.
Cathy: Good morning.
Jenny Anchondo: This must be something that you see on a regular basis, people who are literally teetering on having health issues because of their financial worries, right?
Cathy: Oh, absolutely.
Jenny: Is there a particular group you can look at and say, “Okay, this groups really struggling, this groups really struggling?”
Cathy: Yeah, it seems like the burdens really on parents, Millennials, Gen Xers, and women. And really if you think about it just what’s going on with our economy, financial worries really are a big burden for people these days. It’s the number one stressor.
Jenny: Yeah, and so talk about more so the greater picture how does the money stress then impact our lives.
Cathy: Well, the number one thing it really impacts our relationships. And I think if you really take a look at couples, people aren’t really honest with their money. As a matter a fact, financial infidelity is the number one predictor of divorce. You got to be honest.
Jenny: You mean that you’re lying about something that you spend money on.
Cathy: Absolutely, the financial infidelity. A lot of people out there lying about debt, credit cards, bank accounts. And you need to be honest with your partner. You know, sit down every single month, review your budget, make sure you know where you’re going, and the first month is a really difficult task, but it gets easier and easier if you focus it on a monthly basis.
Jenny: Okay, yeah, you know it makes sense and I think when people hear that the divorces are connected sometimes, and it’s scary to think that something like that could really ruin your life long relationship.
Jenny: And then also there are just general health consequences, because of the stress over finances.
Cathy: Oh yeah, there was a recent survey by Kansas State University, which is a direct correlation between stress and health issues. And one in five Americans, you know, really needed health care they thought about it, then they didn’t go to the doctor, and they’re just stressed about money. So 72% of us thought about money just this past month. It’s a huge stressor on us individually.
Jenny: Oh yeah, when people hear that, they know that they’ve been through the scenario in their head. If I had to take an ambulance, could I afford it. Can I even afford to the emergency room, let alone need. So it is a legit concern.
Cathy: Oh, absolutely, it’s scary.
Jenny: Let’s talk about ways to ease the burden, because we don’t want our viewers to be stressing about those types of decisions.
Cathy: Yeah, the great news is there’s a solution. What you really want to do is focus it on a budget. And I’ve got a great budget worksheet on my website at womenmoneyandpower.com and you can download it. And what you want to do is just start off with all of your fixed expenses, and then your variable expenses and you want to make sure you’re not spending more than you’re taking in. And that’s a really good way to focus in on where your money really is going.
Jenny: Okay, so really take a good hard look at it. And then the other part, build an emergency fund. And when you talk about building an emergency fund, I think there’s a little confusion over how much people should have. What do you suggest?
Cathy: Yeah, three to six months of an emergency fund just in the event that something comes up that you can cover it and 38% of Americans have an emergency fund and the rest of us don’t.
Jenny: So you’re talking about three to six months of income or of expenses?
Cathy: Of living expenses.
Cathy: Yeah, that’s just a big thing. In case something comes up you can cover it. And you really need to have that put aside, and something that’s out of sight out of mind.
Jenny: And then the final component, I know you say deal with debt. And that’s legit we believe you we trust you. Information’s on Cathy’s website which will link to our website. Cathy, thank you so much.
Cathy: Thank you.
Jenny: And ours is Fox4news.com.