This time of year, Wise Women assess the 2012 financial
picture and play catch up with obligations we may have
put aside during the holidays. All of which can be, in a
“For women, financial stress is
often brought on by not knowing
where they stand,” notes Robin
Thompson, president of Budget
Wise Consulting. Robin suggests
one of the most important tools
to cope with financial stress is a
budget – or, as she prefers to call
it – a spending plan. “The word
‘budget’ implies you’ll be deprived.
It’s about everything you can’t do. A spending plan
can be based upon your vision and your values – what
to do. If you’re allocating your paycheck and
giving every dollar an assignment, that enables you to
have the money available when you need it.”
A spending plan can help:
Reduce marital stress. Discussing finances can
help you align priorities.
Find ways to put more money toward your debt.
Prepare for financial surprises like health, home
or vehicle repairs.
Prepare for expenses like vacations.
Build your savings. (Put a regular payment to
your savings into your spending plan as if it were
a recurring expense.)
Feeling the Pinch
If you need help coping with stress, HAP’s Coordinated Behavioral Health Management
team is available to consult with you and match you with appropriate care Monday through
Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call toll-free at
“In addition to financial stress, women are under stress in
so many ways,” adds Jody Khoury, L.M.W.S., behavior health
clinician with Providence Hospital. “They may be taking care of
elderly parents, which is a financial responsibility and a physical
one. At the same time they may be caring for children, plus
keeping a marriage and career going. Demands are coming from
everywhere.” Stress increases our risk for a range of health
issues, including headaches, asthma, digestive problems,
eating and emotional problems, colds, high blood pressure,
strokes, heart attacks and cancer.
Jody notes a number of signs that indicate you may need
to address the stress level in your life. “If you’re feeling
overwhelmed and having thoughts like ‘I just can’t do this
anymore; I’m going to break,’ you need to take action to reduce
stress,” she says. “Another sign is a change in your behavior,
like not returning calls from friends.”