All around us is the news about the economy looks at growth—more jobs, more money, more freedom! With all that growth also comes the realization that more money typically means that people are spending more, which is great for the economy but can greatly impact our own reality about how much money we really have in our bank accounts.
What is the bottom dollar? A growing economy creates a feeling of security so that people are more inclined to spend money. It also means that you may be willing to stretch your budget on a splurge item (or items) such as a new outfit, a fancy dinner or a vacation. According to Nerd Wallet, a website dedicated to helping people lead improved lives through financial education and empowerment, our increased spending habits has led to a 7% increase in credit card debt since 2017. United States consumers have a combined $931 billion dollars in credit card debit. This debt total includes both people who pay off their card in full every month as well as people who carry a balance month to month. the average household having a credit card debit totaling $15983 and the state of Illinois is averaging $6410. Further research shows that the average household carrying revolving debt (month-to-month credit balances) will pay approximately $904 a year in credit card interest.
If you are one of the people who pays off their credit cards each month, it is easy to look at this data and think “I am financially healthy.” In reality, there are many factors that go into our overall financial health. But when you look further at the statistics, you will find that the average credit card total (debt) for someone who pays off their card monthly debt is $1154. This number represents how much money you are providing yourself in a short-term loan through the use of your credit card. Yes, you pay it off. Yes, you pay on time and have great credit. Yes, you are dependent on the use of that card to get through the month. This dependency is a factor in your financial health.
If you are a person at the opposite end of the spectrum, who is carrying a balance and only able to make the minimum payment (or less), you are not alone. The stress, however, of large minimum payment and financial responsibilities like rent/mortgage and groceries can create a sense of overwhelming dread or feelings of anxiety when it comes to thinking about money and in some cases, handling your financial situation. It is easy to avoid opening an envelope or an email that has to do with your finances as well as avoid phone calls reminding you to make payments. While there is a feeling of safety in not facing the problem, the longer the delay in facing the challenge of handling your finances, the bigger the problem becomes until it can feel insurmountable. Like your own physical health, you have to care for your financial health.
Here at Symmetry Counseling, we are here to help with your financial therapy needs. Work with one of our experienced counselors to improve your relationship with money. Allow yourself the opportunity to share your burden and work to strategically begin to have a healthier relationship with money. Financial therapy also works to address the feelings of anxiety that have sustained negative feelings and experiences with money. To take the first step in changing your financial and emotional health please reach out to our therapists at Symmetry Counseling by calling (312) 578-9990 or by emailing us directly. We look forward to collaborating with you to reach your emotional goals with money.