Loneliness NZ


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Financially struggling and lonely

Money… such a big topic, and such an emotive one too. Money is in so many everyday conversations…and the need for money is an absolute given. Many of us feel it’s absolutely okay participating in debates such as whether money buys happiness; whether money is the root of all evil – or the lack of it is the root of all evil. And we love talking about what we would do should we win the big lottery… how it would change our lives.  We can commiserate together about how hard it is to make ends meet in today’s world, and how our companies are not giving adequate pay rises.

But what of the issues that really matter? We don’t feel comfortable talking about our money situation – how much we have, how much we earn, and what we spend our money on… unless we found a real bargain somewhere.  And we ask almost nothing about the situations of others. There are so many reasons for struggling financially. It’s not just irresponsible people who struggle… or the young…. or the very old…. unforeseen life events that affect our financial situation can happen to anyone… some obvious to everyone else and others totally hidden.

So not casting judgement what led you to be financially struggling.  Rather let’s consider how our society perpetuating the money taboo adversely affects you.   You have our empathy…. no matter how much or little money you had at the start of your journey down the slope, you probably have had so much stress and anxiety to deal with on the way. And we realise that you have likely been very lonely, not being able to freely talk about what’s going on for you. 

So if you are one of the many people who feels lonely as a result of struggling financially, or you know of someone who feels loneliness from this, then read on. In fact even if you suspect others might be lonely, and they stoically say they aren’t, it’s worth understanding those that are financially struggling and loneliness better. 

Scratching the surface of being lonely

Just as some of you might find it hard to understand how people who have never had serious money problems might be lonely, it’s also hard for them to really grasp how very lonely you might be: what it’s like:

Being so scared

.... will they kick you out the flat for missing a rental payment?

Missing out

.... they’re always at the mall shopping and having fun together.

Never relaxing

... doing calculation after calculation every time you need to buy something.

Losing freedom

... living back with your parents at 30.

Getting another headache

...working out how to ask your boss for an advance.

Being low on money and feeling low, gives rise to many challenges with regard to feeling lonely…

… and in addition to these, you undoubtedly identify with many of the same loneliness problems that aren’t related to how little money you have.

Prevalence of loneliness

If you’re financial struggling and feeling lonely; you’re not alone.  Most of you (but not all) who are financially struggling are on low household incomes. When we compare the prevalence of loneliness between households with income greater than $100,000 and households with income less than $30,000 we find that the lower income households are much more lonely – as a group. They have almost twice the prevalence of being lonely most/all of the time (9.9% vs. 5.4%); and, similarly, almost twice the prevalence of being lonely some of the time (15.2% vs. 8.1%). So if you have a low household income, and are financially struggling and feel lonely, don’t despair – you not the only one feeling this way.

Pie charts comparing household income >$100,000 and household income

Exposing loneliness

Feeling socially isolated occurs when people, like you, are not connected into their communities in a meaningful way.  Society, other people and we ourselves unwittingly contribute to loneliness. To name a few, loneliness resulting from financially struggling might be exacerbated when:

  • People who’re not normally in debt are not able to connect with you struggling to get out from under it.
  • Groups you’re in expect that everyone contributes money equally on all occasions, and they have shamed others who couldn’t pay.
  • Loan companies made it sound easy to borrow…and now that you’ve got the loan you realise you can’t pay it back and the penalties are really high.
  • The rest of your family are also struggling so no-one wants to know about your struggles.
  • You feel like a failure being in debt, so you don’t get financial advice.
  • You can’t say no to your children and your friends, and you didn’t think you’d live this long anyway!

These are very real issues for you;
and some are not quick fixes! So despite these challenges it’s vital you actively find ways to ensure that you – and those around you – are emotionally healthy.

Exhibiting signs of being lonely

Solitude is very important for people to reflect and to come to grips with their situation. Being lonely for short periods is also not necessarily unhealthy. What we are considering is the type of loneliness which is prolonged and might be damaging to an individual’s health and wellbeing.

Some people talk about their loneliness; other’s don’t; Some might not recognise that they are actually suffering from loneliness.

When people are already lonely, having people around you that you aren’t able to connect with on a deeper level, might even make your loneliness worse.

Research has shown that when socially isolated people aren’t getting enough regular human contact that can create problems with their family members and people who they do end up talking to.

This manifests behaviour such as:

  • Sneaking around …making sure no-one knows how much you spent today.
  • Lying awake at night worrying… and constantly showing extreme tiredness.
  • Often letting people down… without sharing how dire your financial situation is.
  • Gambling with what little you have… fooling yourself into believing you can beat the odds and come right.
  • Increasing alcohol or drugs… today’s nightmare can be tomorrow’s problem.
  • Missing meals… not looking after yourself as you used to.

These are just the surface of the ways you might be showing signs of being lonely… and that you could recognise in others.
So where to from here?

Conquering loneliness

We appreciate…

you all have a unique story.

How long you have been lonely;  What you believe causes your particular loneliness; and what you have already tried to alleviate the loneliness.

To get to the heart of your loneliness we would like to get to know you!

Your personality, your eccentricities, and your values are all part of what makes you feel your loneliness more than some others.

Your next step

We appreciate the trust you would place in us to talk openly and frankly – so we promise no judgements – genuine empathy, respect and confidentiality.

Then when we have understood you better, we can help you move forward. Help you form better connections with your spread out communities, with your friends and your families…wherever they are in the world.

If you are ready to take the next step, click the button to get started addressing your loneliness:

People feel lonely for many reasons. To learn more about other at home and lonely categories, select one of the coloured boxes below, or scroll down the “I’m feeling lonely” menu.

Loneliness NZ square I'm feeling lonely logo

With our help you can conquer your loneliness by taking better care of your inner self.

And we can conquer loneliness in New Zealand by better understanding and accepting each other.

So when you are ready…click here.

We look forward to hearing your view of the world!

Stats NZ (2016), “Well-being Statistics: 2016.” Download the data.