How Your Money Obsession Can Hurt You

Got money on your mind? That’s not surprising, considering it affects so many aspects of our lives. It’s almost impossible not to think about money since we are bombarded every day with all kinds of talk about spending it, earning it, and well even just worrying about it, like your retirement planning or paying off your debts. Money obsession is real. There is almost no way to escape it except perhaps by pulling the blanket over your head and sleeping a little more, but even with that you do risk the potential of dreaming about it!

While planning your finances is important, thinking about them too much may mean you have a money obsession, and that can hurt you in many ways. Here are just some of the ways obsessing over money can have a negative effect on you.

Of course, thinking about money can be beneficial if it does lead to actions that can improve your finances and your life. But, and it’s a big but, when it becomes a preoccupation or obsession with your finances, it can also be very harmful, and I am not just talking about its mental effects either. How can your obsession with money hurt you? It can actually hurt you physically, financially, and emotionally!

How Obsessive Thinking About Money Can Affect Your Health

Since this blog is called Super Saving Tips, you’d think that it would always come from the perspective that thinking carefully about your money is always a good thing, right? Finding ways to spend less and save more can and will improve your financial situation. Being obsessively frugal, so frugal that it includes being frugal about such things as your health, can cause you to suffer when you’re reluctant to spend money on your well-being and your medical care. That money will do you little good if you aren’t able to enjoy it in good health.

There is such a thing as being way too extreme with frugality and it can cause physical danger, as in the “I never go to the doctor because it’s too expensive” mentality. For example, a few years back, I stepped on a piece of broken glass and got a cut in my foot. I put off going to the doctor, and maybe saved $75 by doing so. But it got worse and by the time I did go, it had turned into a serious infection requiring me to be hospitalized. Left long enough, it could have threatened my foot, or maybe even my life.

It’s really hard for some people to loosen their purse strings even just a little. It’s OK to question some purchases so you don’t waste your money on unnecessary items, but you shouldn’t let an obsession with your money prevent you from spending on things like healthcare that you really need.

Skipping Health Insurance

I am one of the very first ones in the room to complain about the cost of health insurance, doctors, and prescription meds, and since my wife and I spend a fortune on it every year I think I have a pretty good reason. But since I am an honest person, I have to admit that a lot of my problems are partly due to my “I don’t want to spend money on healthcare and I’ll be fine” attitude that I had for years. Oh and I can also throw in there the part about how I “dislike even just going and am afraid of what I might find out if I do go” thing.

If you are rejoicing about the fact that you are no longer required to have health insurance after recent law changes and you can now save a few bucks in the short term, don’t leap up waving your arms and shouting about it. You just might fall and hurt yourself and have to be rushed to the hospital ER for help!

Even if you have great genes, never been sick a day in your life, and are a picture of health, something can happen to you. That’s why everyone needs health insurance and should take preventive measures and get real care when they need it. You will almost always “save” money in the long term if you have health insurance and use it.

Simply Having Debt Worries Can Hurt Your Health

A survey by Fidelity Investments and the Stanford Center on Longevity found that 47% of men and 69% of women said they had much higher stress levels after taking on debt. Those surveyed also reported that they were sleeping worse, gaining weight, and being less active as a result of having that debt. Sound familiar?

Obsessing over your debt compounds those problems. The fear of how to pay off debt can be all consuming, but often can be alleviated if you have a plan to tackle it. The Fidelity survey found that 53% of men and 62% of women said their lives were improved by planning the paying off and then actually paying off debt.

Look, there are plenty of strategies to get out of debt. Many bloggers spend years talking about that and I have myself offered my take on it too.

My Favorite “Un-obsessive” Way to Save Money!

My favorite way to save money to pay off debt is the very simple act of adjusting your tax withholding on your Form W-4 if you always get a big tax refund. By increasing the number on your form (and it’s perfectly legal to do it at any time), this adds more money back into each paycheck so that you can put that extra toward your debt each month. Yes, you could wait until tax refund season to get a big refund (which as I have said many times is simply a foolish way to give the government a no-interest loan of your money!) to make a big debt payment. But why do that?

Doing that “big refund thing” will increase the compounded interest you pay on your debt and it will grow and grow throughout the year increasing the amount you owe. You’ll reduce the interest owed and pay off that debt faster if you make bigger payments each month with the extra money in your paycheck. See, doesn’t that reduce some of your stress right there?

What About Skimping on My Healthcare Expense?

“I’ll go see a doctor when I really have to do it!” Rather than spend money on a health insurance policy, some people are saving premium money hedging their bet that they won’t ever need to have it. However, if you do choose not to get it, the risk you are taking could wind up being catastrophic!

Those who’d rather just pay a fee associated with random healthcare maintenance because it costs less than a monthly insurance premium will ultimately find that they won’t save money in the long run. Just one serious situation or even a brief hospital stay can cost you thousands of dollars, and guess what that will do to your debt?

Money Obsession Symptoms

There are signs when someone is behaving obsessively when it comes to money, health, and their well-being. Here are just five symptoms of dangerous and obsessive behaviors about money that can harm you.

  1. You avoid the doctor so you don’t have to shell out the cash or if insured, the insurance co-pay.
  2. You neglect to pay for basic necessities in life, such as seeing a dentist or even things like hiring a repairman to fix a leaky pipe or a mechanic to fix your car.
  3. You still worry constantly about money even though you have a healthy savings account and very little debt.
  4. You take advantage of others to save money, whether it’s leaving an embarrassingly small or no tip or arguing about the quality of a service provider just to try to get an item for free.
  5. You refuse to invest any money even on low or no-risk options such as insured CDs or a money market accounts at a bank.

Final Thoughts

If you won’t take any advice about money, let me plead with you for just this one thing. Don’t let your desire to be debt free and save money be so all consuming that it hurts your mental and physical well-being. Being frugal and being thoughtful and smart about money is a worthy goal. Being obsessive about it isn’t and as with any obsession, it isn’t healthy. You can multiply that statement by 1,000 when it actually refers to your healthcare. There are an awful lot of people who have learned that the hard way.

Do you worry to the point of “obsession” about money and debt? Do you ever make really dangerous decisions when it comes to avoiding spending? Does that include avoiding health insurance or healthcare? What are you doing about reducing your debt and stopping your obsessions to protect your health, safety, and well-being?

Financially Savvy Saturdays

About Gary Weiner @ Super Saving Tips

Over the last 45 years I've worked in retail (department stores and supermarkets) and financial planning. In addition, I am a shopper, born and bred, who enjoys the challenges of finding the best items for the best prices. When I'm not busy saving money or writing here at Super Saving Tips, I enjoy baseball, music, and classic movies. I am retired and live in New Jersey with my wife.
Bookmark the permalink.

2 Comments

  1. Balance is the key when trying to achieve any goal. Being too passive or too aggressive can hinder your efforts. Skimping on healthcare to save a buck is never a good idea, it might just end up costing you more money in the long run or even worst your time, or lead to an even more serious health condition than anticipated. We reduced our stress by systematical paying off our debt and building a plan for our money. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *