How to Deal With Financial Stress

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money financial stress

Stress can affect the body in many different ways. One source of stress that must be recognized is financial stress.

What is Financial Stress?

Financial stress is a type of stress that stems primarily from money issues. Common sources of financial stress include lack of income, very little in savings, high consumer (credit card) debt and student loans.

Effects of Financial Stress

Like other forms of stress, financial stress can affect the body in a variety of ways:

Anxiety and depression

A recent Northwestern Mutual survey found that 54% of those surveyed felt anxiety about their financial situation at times, and 52% felt insecure about their money issues. 

Feelings of hopelessness

A lack of money and rising debt can lead to intense feelings of hopelessness and despair

Lack of interest in leisurely activities

Financial stress can cause a person to forgo things they normally enjoy, which could fuel feelings of depression even more.

Once a person recognizes the signs and symptoms of financial stress, they can start taking the necessary steps to overcome these feelings. 

Dealing With Financial Stress

In most cases, stress won’t go away by itself. It must be acknowledged and dealt with head on. Here are the top ways to handle financial stress:

Determine the cause

Is it student loan debt? High credit card bills? Daily living expenses? Unemployment? Getting to the root source of the stress is the most prudent way to treat it

Create a budget

Take a good look at how much money you make versus how much you spend. Create a spreadsheet or chart listing each expense:

Income

(After Tax)

Budget

$

Percentage

$

Actual

$

Rent & Utilities

 

 

 

 

Phone Bill

 

 

 

 

Credit Card

 

 

 

 

Gas/Transportation

 

 

 

 

Food

 

 

 

 

Insurance (auto)

 

 

 

 

Entertainment

(shopping, dining out, etc)

 

 

 

 

 

Total Expenses

$

$

$

 

Net (Leftover)

$

$

$

 

 

 Live within your means

Once a budget has been written down, spending habits can be analyzed and adjusted accordingly. This will include spending less and living below your means for the time being. Uncontrolled spending can cause debt to spiral out of control.

Build an emergency fund

A major contribution to financial stress is not having an emergency fund. Starting small by simply saving $10-$50 each paycheck is a great way to build the emergency fund. One option is to open a new account and have the funds automatically deposited into the account. Make it difficult to access the funds by not having a debit card for the account. Aim for $1000 or more in this emergency fund account.

Avoid keeping up with the Jones’s

It’s easy to get caught up in what others have and want it too. This can derail a sound financial plan and cause a person to quickly spiral into debt.

Seek help

A financial advisor or debt specialist may provide the guidance and assistance a person needs.

Get educated

Become knowledgeable on financial topics. Do not put your money in the bank or share/stock market and forget about it. Learn about various saving and investing strategies. Discover how to make money work for you, not against you.

Make more money

The first thought for most would be to get a second job, but this is just one way to make additional income. Other options would be to start a part-time business or discover ways to create passive income. A part time puts a cap on how much a person can make, while the income from a part time business or passive income is almost limitless. 

Financial stress is frustrating, but it can be overcome in time.  By staying diligent and focused on the long term, financial difficulties and the stress it causes can be overcome. Create a plan of action today. Your bank account (and stress levels) will thank you.  

 

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