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According to the 2019 Stress in America study by the American Psychological Association, about six in ten adults identify money as a significant source of stress in their lives. In other words, if you’re struggling under the burden of financial stress, you’re definitely not alone! And with the current pandemic causing a lot of economic uncertainty, there’s no wonder many of us are worried about our bottom line.
Finding healthy ways to cope with financial stress won’t make the problem disappear, but it can help you ease anxiety and even regain control of your finances. Here are a few strategies you should try.
Take Things One Step at a Time
Studies show that a long day of making difficult decisions can exhaust us—and even impact our ability to make good decisions. This is called “decision fatigue,” and it’s more common than you might think. So, rather than trying to take charge of your financial situation all at once, don’t be afraid to space out those critical decisions. This strategy can help keep you from becoming overwhelmed and exhausted when you should be focused on finding the right solution.
Do a Financial Inventory
Sure, this one sounds pretty basic. But tracking your spending—manually or with an app—is one of the easiest ways to start managing your anxiety. You’d be surprised by how much calmer you’ll feel once you have a better grip on where your hard-earned cash is going. What’s more, this knowledge is critical if you’re going to adjust your financial plan.
And despite the fact that it may temporarily raise your anxiety levels, make sure to take time to do an inventory of your finances overall. This includes bank accounts, loans, business finances, retirement savings, and other financial concerns.
Identify Your Biggest Stressors and Work to Tackle Them
What keeps you up at night? Take some time to figure out what’s causing your anxiety. From there, you can start making plans to relieve these issues, one step at a time. With the system you’ve put in place to track your spending, it’s time to take a few steps to deal with any stressors you’ve identified.
One of the first things you should do, if you haven’t already, is create a budget. Based on your spending, where do you ideally want your money to go? Creating a spending plan can help you cover immediate expenses and identify any extra cash to put towards your debt or savings goals.
Increase Your Financial Literacy and Get Outside Help
Sometimes, knowledge is power when it comes to stress:
- Consider taking a free class online to help you learn to manage your finances.
- Work with a financial planner to create an investment strategy for more peace of mind.
- Reach out to a credit counselor for help restructuring your debt and working with creditors.
- Get money advice from a financial therapist to help tackle any compulsive spending issues.
This kind of knowledge can help you figure out what’s working, what isn’t and what you have the power to change. And while financial stability won’t come to you overnight, taking baby steps can really help relieve the anxiety and financial stress associated with your bank account. Make sure to keep tracking your progress (and sticking to that budget!) as you go forward to see results.
Don’t forget that (as we said earlier) you aren’t alone in this. Lots of people struggle with their finances, including some of the badass individuals in our mastermind groups. Together, we work on problems just like this, empowering each other to find a way forward. Check them out to learn more!