Understanding and Preventing Financial Stress

Meghan Hatalla

Benovate’s Expert Blogger

Financial Stress

Financial stress is no small thing. Nearly 72% of Americans are stressed over money sometimes and 22% are extremely stressed. The effects of stress are well-documented, from depression to heart issues, and as the cost of living and education rise, more and more Americans are subject to financial stress.

Adding to the complexity of the issues are the differences in how people view and learn about money. It’s not as simple as sticking to a budget or cutting back on luxuries. And more often than not, stress over money leads to coping behaviors that exacerbate the issues (i.e. smoking, drinking, overeating, etc).

The good news is that financial stress is manageable. Learning how to implement various coping strategies can help anyone feel more in control of their finances, thereby reducing stress and planning for a better, more secure future.

Here are 4 Strategies to Help Deal with Financial Stress:

1. Understand Debt

Debt is the original vicious cycle.  While useful to help invest in a future, like a house or an education, it’s tempting to sign up for a credit card that could get you a new outfit or vacation now instead of saving for it. Start out by learning where your debt is coming from and take a good look at the terms and interest rates. This will help you learn what to pay first. It may help to talk with a financial professional to learn how to extricate yourself from the debt cycle and develop simple habits to stay out of it.

2. Know When You Need Money (and How to Get It)

Financial stress usually stems from feeling like you don’t have enough money. While you may just need to take an honest look at your spending and  find areas to cut (like the morning Starbucks run), it might be worthwhile to consider increasing your income through a part time job, turning hobbies into money-making endeavors, etc. You could also work on increasing the value you bring to your current company. Look for opportunities to advance and work on expanding your skills or learning something new that will help move you up the ladder.

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3. Learn to Live On Less

Living paycheck to paycheck is enough to stress out anyone. Start to develop some comfort with budgeting and living within your means. Make a list of things that you need and things that you want. Can you reduce or cut out spending in the “want” category? It can feel empowering to take control of your money and to reward yourself by paying off a credit card or building up a savings account.

4. Engage in Stress Management Strategies

While you’re focused on getting finances in order, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Creating a low-stress lifestyle while getting finances in order is ideal to see benefits from both sides of the coin. Look up breathing techniques, guided imagery, exercise, music therapy, organization, all kinds of things we can do that are both low-cost/free and reduce stress.

Take The First Step!

These tactics for managing financial stress are great first steps. But know, that depending on your debt load, professional help from a financial planner or credit counselor can be a great option as well.  Check with your bank to see if these services are available for free or low cost.

The bottom line is: don’t let financial stress run your life. It is 100% manageable in one way or another.

What strategies have you developed to help manage finances stress-free?

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