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Debt and Your Health

We all know that debt has a negative effect on our credit, but what about our health?

According to a study published by Ohio State University; financial stress, specifically credit card debt, may put your health at risk. Most consumers consider it common knowledge that financial problems can elevate stress levels; however, this is the first study to examine the link between health and credit card debt.

The study confirmed that people who showed higher levels of stress about their debt, showed higher levels of physical impairment and also reported worse health than those with lower levels of debt.*

Professor Paul Lavrakas, who co-directed the survey observed, “The stress of owing money, and knowledge that we’re paying high interest rates, may lead to increased stress resulting in worsening health”.* Over 1,000 Ohio residents were randomly surveyed over the phone. Factors considered in the study included total amount of credit card debt, available credit, number of cards used, and balances carried forward. Physical statistics considered included age, disabilities, smoking and drinking habits, job status, race and education.* Respondents were asked to rate their own health on a scale; analyzing how difficult it was for them to perform common tasks. Reported stress symptoms ranged from heart attacks and insomnia, to emotional upset and difficulty concentrating and performing simple daily tasks such as climbing stairs or carrying groceries. They were also asked to rate their degree of worry about debt. Results of the study were compiled into a debt stress index.

Debt to income ratio was a key factor in the study. Lavarkas stated, “The ratio is a more accurate measurement of economic hardship than income alone because it taps into whether people are living within their means. Two people may have the same income, but if one is deeper in debt, that person will probably be under more stress and have more health-related problems”. **

Don’t let your debt take over your health! As with any problem; make a plan and set goals to overcome it. You may be already reducing your debt by being on our program. Stay on track with your monthly payments and try to put some money aside in savings to ensure a stable financial future.

Keep your goals in sight. Each day you are closer to becoming debt free. Make time for yourself; even if it is just a few minutes a day to exercise, meditate or laugh with a friend – these small things can make a huge difference.

If you know someone who needs help to relieve their financial stress refer them to our accredited counselors at 1-888-282-5494.

Information referenced from:

Published May 15, 2008.