Today we have a guest post from the Charismatic Carl from Wiser Wealthier all about the important connection between mental health and your personal finance.
Oh the brainbox, that most complex machine that whirrs away day and night. Responsible for your thoughts, feelings and just about everything else that makes you the person you are.
Most of the time this machine works just fine. It keeps you breathing, speaking, eating and doing all that other living stuff. Sometimes though, it doesn’t.
As someone who has suffered both the highs and lows of mental illness, I can assure you it can affect anyone at any time. In fact, according to leading mental health charity MIND, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health condition each year.
Following a recent episode of poor mental health which included, amongst other things, me spending money quite recklessly for a short time (a money bloggers worst nightmare!) myself and my partner realised that we needed to make some changes.
Here’s some of what we did to protect ourselves in case something like this happens again:
Taking out a joint account
This first one is something we were planning on doing anyway to reduce the fees we’re incurring with the Santander 123 account but this is something I would suggest you consider either way.
The new joint account means that my wife can check up on spending and notice any erratic spending patterns that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. We’re also going to set up a series of alerts to help automate this a bit.
Talking about our finances more
Being a big money geek it was usually me that sorted out all of the bills, budgets etc. Usually, this is fine as my wife prefers it that way but when I was unwell I was unable to think clearly enough to explain how I’ve set everything up.
Moving forward I give my wife regular rundowns of our finances and budgets and she knows where to find them on my laptop.
The same goes for passwords and logins, she is now able to access everything through a tool called LastPass which logs all of your passwords securely. By accessing everything from here, she is able to remove my access to things like amazon, eBay etc. as a worst case scenario.
Knowing what to look out for
As well as spending, there’s plenty of other signs that I’m getting unwell mentally. We’ve talked in depth about these and now myself, my wife and our family and friends know exactly what to look out for.
This isn’t directly related to money but hopefully by recognising the signs I can take action sooner than before and avoid the episode altogether.
Making things right
Some of the things I bought during my period of illness were not refundable, others, for example an upgraded phone contract, could be fixed.
It was helpful for me to get back some control by reselling or getting refunds for certain things and also helped to calm both of us down a bit!
In all honesty, some companies were more understanding than others but I’ve now got us back on track with a bit of help from my good friend eBay.
Whether or not you suffer from mental illness, please keep in mind that mental illness can affect anyone and it’s better to be safe than sorry.