Suicide Rates & Personal Finances

a young business man sitting on the ground in an office hallway with his head in his hands

Suicide rates are increasing within almost every age group, according to a study from the National Center for Health Statistics, and the overall record hasn’t been this high in almost thirty years.  While the reason for the statistical increase is unclear, experts suggest several options, and economic despair and social discord are at the top of the list.1  With finances listed as the number one stressor in America and financial distress connecting back to all kinds of mental, physical, and relational problems, focusing on financial wellness could play a key part in fighting the suicide rate and increasing general well-being.

Financial Wellness & Economic Despair

A higher tendency to commit suicide has a direct connection to financial problems.  Experts have found that the economy’s ups and downs play a part in the ups and downs of the suicide rate, with increasing numbers of suicide coinciding with a declining economy.1

Decreasing the suicide rate may require taking a step back and tackling the issues that eventually lead to suicide, so let’s take a look at the stepping stones to economic despair and how to avoid it.

According to the American Psychological Association, finances have been the leading stressor in America for over a decade, and financial stress leads to numerous negative symptoms, both emotional and physical, such as:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger and irritability
  • Fatigue and lack of energy/motivation
  • Weight gain and indigestion
  • Higher susceptibility to sickness

The bad news is that 1 in 3 Americans say they are unable to live a healthy lifestyle because of poor finances,2 and poor finances could be a gateway to dire consequences.

The good news is that the right kind of guidance can lead people dealing with financial issues in a more positive direction.

The My Secure Advantage (MSA) Financial Wellness program strives to pride a holistic approach to eradicating financial stress by focusing on improving both financial and general well-being.  At MSA, people enter the program hoping to fix their finances and end up fixing so much more:

“I am attempting to get my finances under control, so I can live with less stress and anxiety, and retire with a reasonable budget and disciplined habits.  I’ve been living with fear − actually feel sick about it sometimes….  I had kind of lost hope, watching long-time coworkers retire and thinking I’d never be able to manage it.  [Now,] I feel more in control, more hopeful, less fearful, and more secure with [my MSA Money Coach] taking a look over my shoulder….  The bottom line is that this service − having your [Money Coach] available to help over a 90-day period − is every bit equal in benefit and importance to the health benefit my employer offers.

Another MSA member summed it up this way:

“[MSA] takes into account the myriad of issues affecting finances, from a holistic point of view.  My health both physical and mental is better, and it is not a surprise that this has gone along with my financial wellness.”

Financial Wellness & Social Issues

A study on suicide from the Association of Schools of Public Health also made a connection between suicidal tendencies and a lack of relational support.  Individuals who were more socially isolated than their peers like unmarried or recently divorced men and women were more likely to commit suicide.3  That’s why targeting the cause of social issues could help prevent such drastic consequences.

Statistics show that finances influence social interaction as well:

  • For nearly a decade, money has been the top stressor for most Americans (72%), and nearly 1 in 5 employees say stress negatively influences the way they interact with coworkers.3
  • Those who have high financial stress lose patience with friends (43%) and argue with their spouse (21%) more often than their peers.4
  • 93% of survey respondents listed “finances” as the primary or secondary cause of conflict in their marriage, and money problems highly increase the chance of the marriage ending in divorce.5

While financial difficulties negatively affect relationships, financial wellness does the opposite.

When individuals and couples focus on improving their finances, a positive significant change happens.  At MSA, individuals move from a dark and difficult place into a bright and hopeful future:

“[My Money Coach, Deborah] has become a friend, and she honestly saved my life….  Her guidance and budget work helped me rebuild a life where I can control my own destiny and still be within a budget!  The future looks so bright!  Deborah is one of my blessings and an angel who has really helped me move from despair to hope to confidence and joy!  Thank you Deborah!!!!”

Couples become a team, working together for a better tomorrow by meeting with their own MSA Money Coach:

“[Our Money Coach] did not focus on just one of our concerns or questions, but both of ours….  This skill not only aligned my wife and I around our finances, but set us up as a team for our financial future.  Since our call, I am glad to report that my wife and I are applying the bi-weekly check-ins on our finances and are on path to achieve our financial goals.  In addition, we have turned a sensitive topic into a positive topic.”

When people put time and energy into improving their financial wellness, they’re also improving their chances of better relationships and a better life.

How does the MSA Financial Wellness program work?

The My Secure Advantage (MSA) Financial Wellness program focuses on improving and maintaining financial wellness, and general well-being, through the multifaceted approach of education, coaching, and on-going support for all financial topics.  MSA provides relief from financial stress by helping members and their loved ones make behavioral changes: they learn how to communicate about money and work together to master healthy financial habits in order to overcome challenges and reach financial goals.

The highlight of the MSA program is that members work one-on-one with a personal Money Coach and have access to a whole team of coaches with multiple credentials and specialties in order to provide optimal support.  Taking it one step further, MSA coaches can point employees to other employer-provided benefits, like counseling and health services, to make sure they are taking full advantage of the assistance and benefits available to them.

Great financial wellness (or lack thereof) is a major influencer when it comes to someone’s well-being.  That’s why it is so important to focus on building a secure financial foundation for better finances, better health, better relationships, and a better tomorrow.

Talk to a MSA Customer Success Manager about how you can protect the financial well-being and general well-being of your workforce by implementing the MSA Financial Wellness program.  Call 888-724-2326 today.


1Tavernise, Sabrina.  “U.S. Suicide Rate Surges to a 30-Year High.”  The New York Times, 22 Apr. 2016.  Web.  29 Apr. 2016.

2Stress in America™: Paying With Our Health.  APA, 4 Feb. 2015.  Web.  16 Feb. 2015.  PDF.

3Phillips, Julie A. et al.  “Understanding Recent Changes in Suicide Rates Among the Middle-Aged: Period or Cohort Effects?”  Public Health Reports 125.5 (2010): 680-688.  Print.

4“AICPA Survey: Money Stress Taking Toll on Many Americans’ Waistlines, Friendships, Sleep.”  New York: AICPA, 23 Apr. 2013.  Web.  11 Jun. 2015.

5Dew, J. (2008), Debt Change and Marital Satisfaction Change in Recently Married Couples.  Family Relations, 57: 60-71.