Tuesday, April 30, 2024
HomeBudgetStruggling with Money? Don’t Isolate.

Struggling with Money? Don’t Isolate.

This post is adapted from YNAB’s twice-monthly newsletter, Loose Change. 

Ever have a bad day surrounded by people who seem to be having the best day of their lives? You might feel pressure to share some good news yourself. Let them know that you’re on the up and up as well. Me? A failure? You must be thinking of someone else!

But when you try to recall a recent success story, nothing comes to mind. They all seem… kind of disappointing. Who wants to hear about that?

It’s easy when your finances are stretched thin, when you’re behind on bills or goals, to not only clam up, but to actually isolate yourself from the people and communities you care about until the underwhelming is over.

When you’re back on your financial feet, then you’ll check back in with everybody. Let ‘em know the good news. Because, as we all know, friendships are nurtured by a never-ending stream of good financial news.

In my late 20s, I declined many invites to happy hours with college friends when I was struggling with money. Holed up in my tiny apartment, dealing with a new physical disability, my incredibly disempowering weekly routine was to wait for $180 checks from Workers’ Compensation (envelopes I could not physically open because of my disability).

I felt like a scurrying animal, trying to find or save an extra 20 bucks wherever I could. I don’t say this because it’s undignified to save money. Rather, I felt like I was operating from some lower, animal part of my brain which was both completely focused on money and really neurotic. I had unleashed ‘squirrel brain’ on my intractable financial situation.

And so did I want to get together with old college friends in which the gap between our week’s activities would be revealed? No. But I wish I had!

When alone with our fears and stresses, we tend to a) spin those fears endlessly in our mind and b) imagine this situation will never end. Sharing a tough spot openly with a friend or community can help on both fronts. When an empathetic listener hears our struggle, our mind can slow down, even start to stabilize. And just because you can’t see a way out of this doesn’t mean a change is impossible in the future. (Feeling hopeless is also a symptom of being physically and mentally burned out.)

Would it have helped me change my trajectory sooner to be more open about what was going on?

Would it have hurt to let my friends buy me a round if it meant the pleasure of each other’s company?

We all have lots of good reasons for wanting our own financial success story. But being worthy of friendship or community is never one of them. 

Transform money from a source of stress to a world of possibilities with YNAB’s free “Change Your Money Mindset” workbook and email series.

YNAB IRL: A Decade of Transformation with YNAB

Lydia C., a YNABer from Edinburgh, used YNAB to make a fresh start and build her dream life back home in the UK.

Ever since I picked up YNAB about 5 years after separating, my financial health and awareness has increased logarithmically. I started overpaying on my mortgage, got to owning half of my house, started saving up for my dream to go back home to Europe. I ended up making that real 5 years later. 

YNAB helped me keep all the admin and finances for this move on the straight and narrow, whilst holding down a challenging job and co-parenting. It gave me confidence I could do this, because I had the figures right there. 

YNAB removes stress from your finances by making everything crystal clear. In scary times it’s a major contributor to improved mental health. People have breakdowns and worse over finances, people get divorced and stop talking to their loved ones. This all can be prevented by using YNAB.

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