Friday, July 20, 2012

Does Financial Stress Make Men Fat?

This headline from one of my financial planning journals caught my eye this morning. According to a study conducted by AVIVA USA (an insurance company) and the Mayo Clinic, the results suggest “stress caused by finances might cause men to gain too much weight”.

Other findings included that 2/3 of the men in the study reported they were very stressed and the biggest contributor to their stress was personal finances. Weight gain from stress is one the many side effects of stress in our society.

Even though a high percentage of men admitted finances were the main cause, half of these men said they do not discuss their finances with others (including a spouse), and only 1 in 5 of these men work with a financial advisor.

If you are a woman who is married and thinks that your husband is “taking care of business” it might be a good time to take the lead and initiate a conversation with your spouse or significant other. Many men feel it is their duty or obligation to be responsible for the finances of the household, including investments, even if they don’t have a clue what they are doing. This may prove to be detrimental to his health and your financial future. And your spouse is unlikely to admit this to you voluntarily. Men place a lot of value on being perceived as intelligent and many men think that they “should” know how to invest successfully to prepare for the family’s future.

My challenge to you is to find a financial planner that you are comfortable talking to and then to approach your spouse about getting a second opinion, to determine if you are on track as a family.

I suggest you first schedule a time with your spouse to have a conversation about your finances. Dig deep. Ask how he feels about his investment strategy, about his job about the amount of money that you may owe. Admit to your spouse if you don’t understand investments and share any feelings of stress that you have around money. Let him know it is not his sole responsibility to know everything about money , or to shoulder the burden of your family finances. Talk about his expertise in his chosen field and point out that the average person couldn’t perform his job with any level of expertise, and you don’t expect him to have full knowledge of tax, law, investments, insurance and other complex financial topics.

You can introduce the concept of going to a financial advisor to see what areas might possibly be improved upon. A second set of eyes can help to uncover potential blind spots.

By helping your spouse to realize that you don’t expect him to know everything about finances, you open the possibility of taking a real source of stress out of his life and improve his health in the process.

The survey findings show “ there is a need for men to increase their overall health as it relates to stress, weight and their financial preparedness” I encourage you to find a financial planner that you are comfortable talking to and set up an appointment to get a second opinion. By taking the initiative yourself to interview a few advisors, you become an integral part of the process and solution. Your spouse may appreciate this more than you’ll ever know! Note: Due to industry regulations on communication, we are unable to allow for public comments on this blog.

 Please feel free to email me your questions and/or comments to
Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. NFP Securities, Inc. is not affiliated with Fish & Associates.