Financial fears fuel nightmares

As financial advisers, part of our job is to help remove the anxiety around money for our clients. It’s therefore interesting to us that concerns about money are creeping into sleeping hours, research from Royal London has revealed. The stress and anxiety that some people feel when they think about their finances are fuelling nightmares but there are steps that can be taken to ease money apprehension.

Given that finances can affect numerous aspects of life, it should come as no surprise that money is one of the top causes of nightmares. The survey suggested that men are affected more than women; 44% of men suffer from nightmares once a week or more, compared to one in six (17%) women. The impact of financial stress when we’re awake is well-known. However, the survey suggested that it can have negative effects, and even influence the dreams we have, when we’re sleeping.

The findings of the research revealed:

  • Two in five (41%) people said they were anxious about money
  • 85% of people have suffered from nightmares
  • A quarter (23%) of people suffer from nightmares at least once a week
  • Three in 10 (31%) people said they have changed something about their life or based a decision they’ve made on a dream or nightmare
  • 88% of people think real life issues influence their dreams and 91% believe their emotions have an effect

Surprisingly, one of the most common types of dreams people experience is their teeth falling out. It’s a nightmare that affected 18% of people and is said to symbolise the loss of power and confidence. As a result, financial concerns may lead to a recurring dream of losing your teeth.

Mona Patel, Royal London’s Consumer Spokesperson, said, “Financial worries don’t just affect our waking hours, as our research shows they are creeping into our subconscious and giving us nightmares. Keeping on top of finances can make you feel in control and ease your worries. Start with simple steps by keeping a spending diary and setting a budget which can help you towards getting your finances in order.”

It’s not just nightmares that are a sign of financial stress either. The symptoms of stress are varied and what one person may experience can be vastly different from another. Signs of stress range from the emotional, such as feeling overwhelmed and becoming easily agitated, to physical symptoms, including low energy, headaches, insomnia, and chest pain.

Six ways to reduce financial stress

If you’re affected by money worries, there are steps that you can take to ease concerns and set you on the right path to take control of your finances.

1. Have a plan: As the nightmare research indicates, it’s often a feeling of lack of control that fuels nightmares. Taking back that control by setting out a plan can reduce your worries, as you’ll know you’re moving in the right direction. Setting a minimum amount that you will put aside to build-up an emergency fund or regularly tracking your Workplace Pension, for example, can form part of your plan.

2. Talk to family and friends: The saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ might be cited a lot but there is some truth in it. Just talking about money worries that you have with friends and family can help reduce the stress. They may be able to put your concerns into perspective or offer invaluable advice too.

3. Stay organised: If you have no idea how much you have in the bank, what’s owed on your credit cards, or what’s in your emergency fund it could be the fear of the unknown that’s fuelling your concerns. Keeping all your records organised and frequently reviewing them can help give you peace of mind. It’ll also put you in a better position to create a plan and improve your financial resiliency overall.

4. Know that you’re not alone: With more than four in 10 people saying they’re worried about money, you’re definitely not alone. Feeling isolated can make it even more difficult to tackle any issue that you’re facing head-on. So, recognising that you’re not the only one concerned about money can make it that bit easier. It’s a step that can make you feel more confident and ready to take back control.

5. Ask for help: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether you just need advice on how you should be saving or you’re struggling to make ends meet, there is support available. You can ask for help from family or approach an organisation, like the Money Advice Service. It could lead to you feeling more positive about your financial future and the steps you need to take.

6. Seek a professional opinion: A professional financial adviser can help ease financial concerns too. Taking into account both your short and long-term aims, we can help you build a blueprint that considers your current situation and the worries that have been plaguing you. To review your finances and to discuss how they can be better managed to ease your concerns, contact us today.