Learning how to calm your fears and feel confident about your financial choices is a matter of education, action, and respect for your own wellbeing.
Everybody’s under stress about their finances at some point in their life. This was the case even before the pandemic that resulted in skyrocketing unemployment rates. Constant financial stress is a dangerous attitude to develop because it is a very toxic environment that will slowly but surely suck the life out of you. Studies have shown high level of stress coming from financial worries can ripple out to other areas of a person’s life including their health. This effect should already be enough to for all of us to do our best to stay on top of our finances.
1. Common Causes of Financial Stress
Knowing and understanding the root cause of any problem can help you find a solution or, in this case, fix your financial situation.
Not being able to pay the bills
If you are having a hard time making payments because you do not have enough at the end of the month to pay the bills , then you need to fix your budget ASAP.
Having too much debt
One of the most expensive mistakes that you can make is to carry a lot of debt, especially high-interest credit card debt that burns your financial picture and opportunities to the ground. Plastic credit are among the most common culprits because they make us believe that these funds are assets when they are in fact liabilities that come back to haunt us.
There is no way to predict when and how severe life can get in the future. It can be as simple as a broken appliance or as serious as losing your job or getting sick. Savings and an emergency or rainy day fund act as a financial cushion that helps you sleep at night knowing you will be able to handle whatever life throws at you.
Not saving up for retirement
Retirement is not a question of “if?” but more of a”when?” The time will eventually come and the sooner you start planning, the better off you’ll be.
2. Tips on Dealing With Financial Anxiety
If you are struggling with financial anxiety, you need to remember that you are not alone and that you can overcome it.
Stop comparing yourself
Social media accounts are generally filled with friends’ pictures of trips, cars, and other clear indicators of wealth. No matter how accurate your perception of their wealth is, comparing yourself to others is not a healthy way to live. You don’t know what’s in their bank account and what took them to get to where they are. Everybody’s different and other people’s journeys are not yours. Likewise, sharing too much online is unhealthy and can make you spend more than usual to maintain the facade. If it all got too much for your, just put your social media accounts on hold until you learn to manage your emotions.
Face your fears
It might seem counter-intuitive that one of the best coping techniques for financial anxiety is to consider the worst as fearing the worst case scenario is what triggers your anxiety. But after you realize and acknowledge your fears, you can put a contingency plan in place and you will diminish the power they hold over you.
If fear of the unknown causes you to stress about money, turn those unknowns into “knowns.” In the case of finances, ignorance is everything but bliss. Calm your fears by educating yourself through a course or a book.
3. How To Improve Your Financial Situation
The good news is that there is plenty you can do to improve your finances.
You need to track all your expenses and budgeting is the way to do it. A budget is essentially a plan for how to spend the money you earn each month. It is your best tool to change your financial future because it ensures you can cover all your expenses, like your rent and Eversource bill while providing you with a roadmap to your financial goals.
Read a book about personal finance
Seek financial wisdom from books written by experts who can change your approach to managing money. You can even get an audio book so you can listen to it while going about your day. Your mind got you into this mess so you need a new mindset.
Reduce your expenses
While you may not be able to reduce certain fixed expenses, such as rent without drastically altering your lifestyle, you can reduce variable expenses by being creative and flexible. You can, for example, reduce your energy usage to lower your utility costs along and find a cheaper insurance provider.
Ditch your credit cards
If you keep using your credit cards to make ends meet, you are not solving the core problem. If you really want to take control of your finances, just stop using your credit cards.
The only person you can change is yourself. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on creating an abundant savings account and mastering budgeting as these two tools will set you up for financial success. Learning how to calm your fears and feel confident about your finances is a matter of education, action, and respect for your own wellbeing. As you find ways to stay on top of your finances, you may soon find that the anxious feeling that comes when checking your bank balance has vanished and its place has been taken by a sense of power, pride and accomplishment.