Financial stress and anxiety affect millions of people. Most of the stress we deal with during our adult life is sometimes caused by financial-related issues. The reasons for financial stress differ from person to person, but it is important to remember that worry won’t solve anything; taking action to alleviate financial woes, however, does.
Here are 9 steps to eliminating financial stress:
- Identify what is causing the stress: Take a look at your financial situation and identify the issues that are causing you stress. Write down your three biggest financial sources of stress so you know what you’re up against. Keeping the list short can help you feel less overwhelmed. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it – doing so won’t make it go away.
- Don’t be ashamed: Many of us feel ashamed around money matters – especially when our financial situation is not the best. Shameful feelings about financial challenges can fuel more stress, making us feel stuck in our circumstances. Do your best to let go of the shame and face your situation; it can be difficult but focusing on tackling and finding solutions to diminish shame will help you and you will feel a lot better.
- Look for information to find financial solutions: Not knowing exactly what kinds of financial matters you’re dealing with can trigger or intensify stress and anxiety. Information is both power and a stress reliever. Look for as much information as you can.
- Review your budget: If you have a budget, look for ways to reduce your spending; if you don’t have a budget, establish one. Your budget is a financial road map, it guides you to make the right spending choices and to see where your money goes.
- Get rid of your debt: Debt is one of the main reasons people have financial stress. If you can put together a plan and begin making progress towards your goals, you will find your financial stress is reduced, or possibly eliminated. Find ways to systematically getting rid of debt, whether it’s a bill, loan, or other financial challenge. Additionally, keeping your debt under control (i.e., no Starbucks one week per month or deleting treat altogether – can mean a savings of hundreds of dollars per year). Reviewing and reducing your “optional” financial debts one item at a time can often immediately improve your credit standing and can save you thousands of dollars.
- Seek the help from a professional: Consult a financial planner; many offer complimentary consultations and you will have an expert opinion and starting point to start tackling the issues that are causing you to stress. You might also have access to different tools and solutions.
- Plan: Make concrete, yet achievable goals and stick to the plan.
- Set goals: Decide what you want from your finances. Make a vision board or post an image of your goal and place it where you will see it every day. When you can visualize your goals and see them in front of you, they become real and keep you focused.
- Are Financial Issues the cause of your stress: Sometimes, stress over money isn’t about money at all. Aging, health, relationships and a fear of not being valued anymore are powerful feelings that may hide behind a smokescreen of financial anxiety. So, the next time you’re worried about money, consider ways to relieve it. Sometimes, relieving stress may be as simple as calling a good friend to vent. Identifying possible other reasons for experiencing stress may help you greatly.
When we are challenged with financial stress, taking a really thorough look at what could be causing the problems can be as simple as examining, planning, reducing and in many cases, eliminating. Working with a professional financial planner can also help you assess, identify and tackle financial difficulties and work with you to get you back on track.