Want Better Sleep and Less Stress? Try This

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KEY POINTS

  • The Northwestern Mutual 2022 Planning & Progress Study discovered there is a direct link between financial planning and overall wellness.
  • Over half of U.S. adults are anxious about their finances, but the number drops for those who consider themselves a disciplined financial planner or work with a financial planner.
  • The survey found stark differences between age groups with Generation X being the worst sleepers, and millennials and Generation Z tied for the most anxious.


Leave those restless nights of tossing and turning behind you.

Are you looking for ways to reduce your stress and get better sleep? According to a recent study, those who are financially disciplined or work with a financial advisor report higher levels of happiness and better sleep. The Northwestern Mutual 2022 Planning & Progress Study discovered an interesting relationship between financial planning and overall wellness.

A majority of people are worried about finances

The survey found that over half (54%) of U.S. adults are either somewhat or very anxious about their finances. The number goes up drastically for Gen Z and millennials, with two out of three (66%) worried about money.

The number drops, however, for those who consider themselves a disciplined financial planner (47%). Worried that you can’t be financially disciplined or don’t have the skillset to manage your own money? The percentage also dropped for people who worked with a financial planner (46%).

They study also found that disciplined planners and people who work with a financial planner not only have less anxiety, but are happier and sleep better. As the data show below, non-planners are roughly 20% less happy than planners, and people who work with a financial planner are 25% more likely to say they sleep well compared to those who don’t have one.

Group of people Somewhat / very happy Somewhat / very unhappy
Disciplined planners 84% 16%
Informal / non-planners 68% 32%
People who work with a financial advisor 87% 13%
People who do not work with a financial advisor 72% 28%
Source: Northwestern Mutual
Group of people Sleep well / very well Sleep poorly /
very poorly
Disciplined planners 76% 24%
Informal / non-planners 62% 38%
People who work with a financial advisor 81% 19%
People who do not work with a financial advisor 65% 35%
Source: Northwestern Mutual

Gen X are the worst sleepers

The survey found stark differences between age groups. Boomers have the highest level of happiness, sleep the best, and are less anxious than others. Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) are the worst sleepers. Millennials and Gen Z are tied for the most anxious, with two out of three anxious about their finances.

Generation Somewhat /
very happy
Sleep well /
very well
Not very / not at all
anxious about finances
Boomers 84% 76% 64%
Gen X 72% 62% 42%
Millennials 75% 72% 34%
Gen Z 72% 71% 34%
Source: Northwestern Mutual

How to improve your financial wellness

Regardless of where you are financially, making small adjustments can make a big difference when it comes to your money. Here are four simple steps you can take to improve your financial well-being, which in turn helps you get a better night’s rest.

  1. Create a financial plan: A financial plan is a comprehensive picture of your current net worth and budget, your financial goals, and how you plan on achieving those goals. A plan gives you greater clarity of where you are and what you need to do.
  2. Pay down your debt: Debt is one of the biggest causes of stress and anxiety. Credit card interest rates have risen recently due to the Fed raising interest rates. That means paying down credit card debt should be a priority.
  3. Create an emergency fund: Your emergency fund should contain three to six months' worth of expenses. It may need to be more depending on your job. An emergency fund will help protect your finances against unexpected events such as a job loss, medical problems, or car breakdowns.
  4. Invest consistently: According to the largest survey of millionaires ever conducted, the key to financial success and becoming a millionaire is through disciplined investing. Eight out of 10 millionaires invested in their workplace 401(k), 403(b), or equivalent company retirement plan. In addition to their company investment plans, three out of four also invested in their brokerage accounts, Roth IRA, or a traditional IRA.

Following these steps can help you on the path toward both financial wellness and overall wellness. Being a disciplined financial planner or having a financial planner help you can help alleviate anxiety and uncertainty. This, in turn, will help with happiness and sleep.

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