It was with surprise and sadness that we learned of the death of Robin Williams. How could someone who gave so much to everyone else not realise that he was loved in return? The answer of course was that insidious illness, Depression.
Then I saw this headline in the NZ Herald “Williams was depressed and broke”. It was only a few months earlier that Charlotte Dawson also suffering from depression and ‘jobless and penniless’ ended her life as well. It seems that depression and money problems are a dangerous combination.
I don’t know the details of either’s financial circumstances other than what has been in the media. But both had been in the situation of earning very good incomes during their careers, they enjoyed the good things in life and were able to be generous to their friends and family. Then for whatever reason the money stopped flowing and life became even more difficult when combined with depression.
When you have money it can bring joy and happiness to many and life is perceived as easy. But when it goes, it creates huge stress even for those of us who haven’t been diagnosed with depression.
So, if you are feeling depressed due to the loss of your job, a change in life circumstances or life is just getting you down right now, here are a few steps to help keep your finances under control.
- Be aware that when you are depressed, paying bills and managing your finances may be overwhelming, so ask for help. There is no shame is asking for help and support from a friend or family member. Visit your local bank and set up automatic payments so that as many bills as possible get paid automatically, then you don’t have to worry about them.
- If your income drops because you need some time away from work, then get help from a finance professional like us or a budget advisory service to help you put a budget in place. Think very carefully about what you really need right now, and cut back on some of the wants. Make sure your support person or advisor is monitoring your budget for you so they can help ensure that the ends meet.
- Get rid of your credit cards and use cash! We lose awareness of how much we are spending when we use credit cards and the temptation to cheer ourselves up by going shopping or taking a trip when you can ‘put it on the plastic’ is too easy and can escalate your financial worries. Using cash forces you to think about what you are spending and you can see how much money you have available because it is in your wallet.
- If you own your own home, talk to your bank or a reputable broker on how you can restructure the debt to see if you can ease the monthly mortgage payments, interest only may be a short term option that you can explore
- Find activities that make you feel better that don’t cost a lot, instead of going to the gym, exercise outside with friends for example.
If your depression just isn’t going away, get professional help there are plenty of organisations that are willing and able to help. You don’t need to become a statistic like Robin Williams and Charlotte Dawson.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please feel free to contact us.
Lynda Moore http://www.mymoneyseeker.com