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Money and Mental Health



In both of my careers – running a successful insurance firm and starring in a successful reality TV series – I’ve learned the answer to the age-old question, “Can money buy happiness?”

The answer is no. In both careers, I’ve met many people who are financially well off but not mentally well off. Then again, not being able to pay your bills is so stressful, it can trigger mental health problems.

That’s not just my opinion. It’s the result of’s annual survey on credit cards and mental health. Credit cards are the nation’s go-to source of unsecured debt.

“Secured” debt is your mortgage or your auto loan, because if you don’t make your payments, the bank can take your home and the repo man can take your car. Credit cards are “unsecured” because no one comes looking for your credit cards.

Credit cards are a wonderful convenience, but unfortunately, they’ve become an awful addiction. recently asked 1,000 Americans, “How do your credit card bills affect you?” The top answer – more than 4 in 10 – was “makes me feel stressed.”

Other answers were…

  • Hopeless (just over 8%)
  • Sad (almost 7%)
  • Loss of sleep (2.75%)
  • Low self-esteem (2.5%)
  • Loss of appetite (1%)

None of the answers were, “I feel great!” Even worse, credit card balances compel people to do things that damage not only their mental health, but also their loved ones’. For example, asked, “ How does credit card debt affect you socially?”

More than 11% replied, “My significant other and I argue over my credit card spending.” Another 11% said, “I hide my credit card spending from my significant other.”

That’s not how healthy relationships last. It’s also not how healthy finances are built. Another shocking stat: More than a fifth told they missed a credit card payment because they “couldn’t bring myself to look at the balance.”  So, they paid a hefty late fee and ran up more interest charges simply because they couldn’t bear to see the bill.

That’s not healthy in so many ways. And it’s getting worse. This is the second year has asked these same questions. For example, in 2022, more than 21% admitted feeling “stressed” after using credit cards. This year, it jumped to almost 34%.

Sometimes, fans ask me why I’ve continued to run my own business, Coto Insurance & Financial Services. Isn’t that boring? Isn’t it stressful? The answers are No and Yes.

It’s not boring because I love what I do, which is helping people navigate complicated financial details so they can live a full life. But yes, it’s stressful because I often see first-time clients who are stressed out themselves, and as an empathetic person, I pick up that energy and internalize some of it. Helping them out financially so they feel better mentally is fulfilling, but until we get down that road, it’s painful for me as well as them.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to address this very important topic. If you think your mental health is suffering because your financial health is suffering, I urge you to get financial counseling before you seek psychological counseling. For starters, financial counseling is FREE through With one phone call, you’ll get a free in-depth debt analysis and no-pressure advice on how to get out from under your stubborn bills.

If all goes right, your mental health might start improving immediately. I’ve seen it happen with people I’ve sent to and with my own clients. In a weird way, financial causes of mental health problems are easier to fix than other causes, even though they seem like the most daunting at first.

As I usually say to folks in these situations, you don’t have to do what I recommend. But do something – just don’t do nothing.

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