At one point in your life (or currently), you’ll probably deal with some financial stress.
This can be caused by your rising debt, not earning enough money, costs of living expenses, or even money troubles in your relationship.
Whatever the circumstance, being worried about money takes a toll on you mentally and physically, plus it can strain relationships with your significant other, family, and friends.
While everyone handles financial stress differently, everyone deserves to live a comfortable and happy life.
Are you ready to help reduce your money stress and take control of your finances? Dive into the content below!
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What Causes Financial Stress?
The main causes of financial stress are typically from rising debt, losing a job and wondering how to pay bills, medical bills, or spiraling into a lifestyle you can’t afford. All of these instances can be financially devastating.
But as you can imagine, financial stress and anxiety can be caused by many different circumstances. And how you handle it can be different from the next person.
Some additional causes of financial stress include:
- Credit card debt
- Low savings rate
- Rising living expenses
- Volatile stock markets
- Lack of financial literacy
- Unexpected emergencies
- Overspending and shopping
These areas are nothing to be ashamed about, even financially stable people can still stress about money as well and worry about their own financial future.
Statistics Around Financial Stress
There is quite a few stats around financial stress, but these were just a few I came across that stood out to me.
- A survey by Northwestern Mutual found that money was the dominant source of stress for 44% of Americans.
- And Financial firm John Hancock’s Financial Stress Survey found that 69% of workers were stressed over their finances, with fully 72% admitting to worrying about their personal finances at work.
- According to the American Psychological Association (APA), 72% of adults report feeling stressed about money, whether it’s worrying about paying rent or feeling bogged down by their debt.
Can Financial Stress Affect Your Health?
The issue with financial stress is it can have a big impact on your overall health. While many people cope differently, it can affect your physical well-being, your mental health, create unhealthy stress relievers, and even delay seeing a healthcare provider.
Stress can induce a lot of health issues, so it’s best to find ways to be more relaxed and at ease.
Financial Stress Symptoms
While it might be pretty obvious for you to recognize that money is stressing you out, sometimes it can happen seemingly out of nowhere.
Typically, it’s a slow buildup that you subconsciously probably know is coming, but you’re blocking it out.
When I was dealing with my own issues with money a few years ago, I could tell my situation wasn’t ideal and could easily face more financial disaster.
But I chose to brush it off and ignore it, instead of taking action immediately. This led to be more anxious and worried about my future.
If you are self-evaluating your current financial stress levels, here are some symptoms to look for:
- Are you feeling more anxiety when you think or talk about money?
- Do you worry often about your current and future finances?
- Are you having panic attacks often? Or feeling depressed?
- Are you in denial about your finances and ignore the issues?
- Can’t sleep? Do you find you are up at night tossing and turning a lot?
- Have you noticed you are gaining or losing weight?
- Have things you loved to do stop interesting you at all?
Of course, these are just a few symptoms and your warning signs could be different from the next.
But use these areas to help you identify that you are indeed facing some serious financial stress.
How Do You Relieve Financial Stress?
Coping with financial stress and working towards correcting your issues will help you take control of your money.
Too often, we let money control us and let it dictate what we do, that it leaves our stress and anxiety through the roof. Instead, money should be working for you.
Below are a few ways to relieve your financial stress and feel more at peace.
1. Find your financial anxiety triggers
While there are potentially many reasons you might find money stressing you out, really look at what bothers you the most about your finances.
What is it that if you specifically changed, would make you more at ease and less worried?
Maybe it’s eliminating all your debt or earning more money. Maybe it’s only one major thing or maybe you have a list of a few things.
Whatever the case, make sure you sit down and really think about “what” and “why” these areas trigger your financial stress. This can be the first building blocks to creating a financial plan for yourself.
2. Learn how to handle money stress
Pending your financial situation or if there are tough economic times (looking at you bear market), you may not handle the stress very well.
Many times, we turn to activities that can do harm to our physical or mental state. Things like smoking, drinking, or other ways to feel some emotional relief.
However, these tend to only cause more issues and be detrimental to any progress you might want to make.
Look for healthy ways to manage your stress like working out, taking a walk, listening or creating music — or anything that helps you relax and think more logically.
If you need more help, reach out to someone you trust to talk or even a professional to help your mental health.
3. Tackle one issue at a time
Your finances can certainly feel overwhelming if you have a few money problems currently. It can snowball and feel like you have no control or even know where to start.
However, even if you start to put a plan in place, you need to pace yourself no matter how eager you are to make changes.
While it’s awesome to be pumped on getting to work, if you try to take on all the issues at once, it can cause you to stress even more.
Instead, make a list of your current financial issues and work through each one in due time. Space out how you work on your finances, otherwise you risk getting more overwhelmed and wanting to give up.
4. Create a budget
One of the best options for you to get your financial stress under control is to create a budget that you will stick to. By no means should you get obsessed with data and spreadsheets as that can drive you nuts!
But by organizing your finances, income, and expenses — you’ll get the overall picture of your financial health.
It will also help you realize where to make changes, ensure you are saving money, where you can put money towards debt, and that you are properly covering your expenses.
I think the best thing a budget does is help you narrow needs versus your wants and helps you identify areas that still need improvement.
For example, even after all your finances are organized you might see that you still aren’t able to save much.
This tells you there is an expenses problem and even an income challenge, where you might want to take on a side hustle, some under the table jobs, or figure out how to increase your salary.
5. Set realistic goals
Financial goals and what you want to achieve will make a world of difference. It helps you have something to attain for and can help you stay motivated.
Certainly, it’s cool to have long-term and maybe more challenging goals. But don’t only set some impossible objectives like, “I want to save $100,000 by next month.”
I’m all for going big, but just make sure you have goals you know are achievable too. A few small options that might come to mind:
- Find three ways to save $X this month
- Put $X from each paycheck towards savings
- Put X% of extra money towards debt this year
When you can cross a goal of the list it can lift your spirit, keep you motivated, and you’ll be pumped when you reach a certain milestone.
Mix in small, medium, and challenging goals but keep the focus in the beginning on short-term wins.
6. Ask for help
Sometimes, financial stress is not something you can handle on your own. Again, there is no shame in looking for support or help.
One of the best things you can do to help you achieve your money goals and stay focused is lean on the support of people you trust.
These are people who want you to succeed and can offer encouragement or guidance. They might not be experts in finance, but can help you destress or provide the support you need. This could be your significant other, friends, or a family member.
Additionally, while being financially literate is important to helping you make better financial decisions, that also can be overwhelming. Understanding financial concepts are not as hard as you think, but there is so much material.
You can take classes on basic money management and investing or even connect with a financial planner to help you get organized.
And there are many personal finance tools and money saving apps that are also easy to use and help you stay accountable.
None of the above will be easy, regardless of where you are currently at financially. Some of your goals will take time and require plenty of effort to achieve (even then, you might not reach everything as you want).
But stay patient, celebrate the small wins, and look for the positives of your current progress. And yes, there can be unexpected setbacks along the way.
However, if you want it bad enough for yourself or family, I find that you’ll be more encouraged to stick through it.What was a stressful financial time for you? How did you overcome it? What are some other ways to cope with financial stress and better manage it? Let me know in the comments below!