Financial Wellness Can Improve Women’s Physical Health

Advisors know that financial sources are among the primary causes of stress among clients and that’s true among married couples and both single men and women.

Advisors also know that financial stress manifests itself in other ways – none of which are good. Financial problems can and do take a toll on personal relationships. Not only that, there’s also the specter of these issues leading to physical and mental health problems. Stress of all forms can have those dire consequences, so it’s not surprising the same is true of financial stress.

Underscoring the need for advisors to better connect with female clients, data and research confirm women are susceptible to seeing financial stresses morph into negative physical health scenarios. Obviously, advisors are not medical doctors nor are they psychologists, but they can take steps to help female clients mitigate financial stress, in turn potentially reducing the possibility of negative health outcomes.

Why It Matters

The term “financial wellness” is often bandied about and there are implications for advisors looking to build more holistic practices. Focusing on women is an excellent starting point in that effort. That’s especially true when considering the relationship between financial and physical wellness.

“Women report higher levels of stress about money and are more likely than men to say they feel stress about money all or most of the time,” notes the American Psychological Association (APA).

Something advisors and women alike should focus on when it comes to improving financial health are the dire consequences ignoring this subject can have on physical health.

“Stress about money can manifest in unhealthy coping mechanisms that may have negative health consequences of their own. Women who experience financial stress are more likely to engage in sedentary or unhealthy behaviors to manage stress — which include watching TV or surfing the internet, eating, drinking alcohol or smoking — than their low-stress counterparts,” reports KCET.

Further underscoring the negative impacts financial stress can have on women’s physical well-being, data confirm Asian, Black and Latina women report more health problems, some of which are generated by financial burdens, than their white counterparts.

Improved Financial Literacy Can Help

Prime territory for advisors looking to help women avoid some of the above issues is as simple as bolstering financial literacy. A Standard and Poor’s Global Financial Literacy survey indicates women lag men when it comes to financial literacy. However, a slew of other data points and studies confirm women are not only demanding access to improved financial education, they are, broadly speaking, more open to working with advisors than many men.

Doubts about the positive impact of even modest increases in a women’s financial literacy should be quashed right off the bat because there are indeed tangible benefits in this endeavor for advisors and female clients alike.

“While there is limited research, a small Creighton University study on the effect of financial education on the single, low-income women showed an $8,026 increase in average annual income and significant enhancements in health-related quality of life for women who completed the program,” according to KCET.

That’s just one data point, but it’s a compelling one and it should be enough to convince advisors about the efficacy of helping women improve their financial foundations.

Related: Women, Retirement Planning Potent Combination for Advisors