A low financial literacy level impacts negatively on individuals physical and mental health. This is a conclusion of a recent study that highlights the need for everyone to do financial planning, improve its financial literacy levels and to live within one means.

A study by Christopher Davis defines financial stress as the “subjective, unpleasant feeling that one is unable to meet financial demands, afford the necessities of life, and have sufficient funds to make ends meet”. The perception is that your financial situation impacts directly on your physical wellbeing.

Financial stress is, therefore, associated with low self-esteem, pessimism or negativity and reduced mental health, particularly an increase in depression and hostility. Studies show that there is a link between financial stress and suicide and alcohol consumption, most likely because of the increased level of depression.

At workplaces, employees with high financial stress have often reported poor health and are more than four times likely to complain of headaches, depression or other illnesses. What you need to know is that mental health and money problems are often directly linked.

Research showed that in England alone, over 1.5 million people are experiencing both problem debt and mental health problems. Is Africa any different? Research has recorded that half (46%) of people in problem debt also have a mental health problem.

Unexpected expenses, the need to save for retirement and out-of-pocket healthcare expenses are the major culprits. Chronic stress is, therefore, linked to physical health issues. To identify signs of stress look out for the following: dizziness or a general feeling of "being out of it". General aches and pains, grinding teeth, a clenched jaw, headaches, indigestion, increase in or loss of appetite, tiredness, among others. People can manage financial stress by learning to manage stress through financial planning, literacy and living within one means.

You can learn more about the study and its most relevant findings by reading the full article available here.