Stress is one of the greatest influences in our lives. It can come from a myriad of places (school, work, home, friends, etc.) and has an impact on our daily lives and long-term health. Today, I want to discuss stress as it relates to finances.
When it comes to finances and money, there are plenty of things people stress about:
– Can I pay my bills this month?
– Am I saving too little?
– Am I saving too much?
– What is the stock market doing? Is it going too high and is it going to crash?
– Will I have enough money in retirement?
– Budgets are scary! Making one and sticking to it makes me anxious.
A 2014 study by Financial Finesse found that those individuals with the highest reported levels of financial stress were women under the age of 30 who had minor children and earned under $60,000 annually with 58% reporting high or overwhelming financial stress.
In order to help manage financial stress, we have come up with a few tips and tricks:
Use a secure budgeting and personal finance software: As we said before, budgets are scary! They make you face how much you are really spending and where you are spending it. Budgeting and personal finance software (such as those offered by Learnvest and Mint.com, to name only a few) help you to track your spending by accessing your bank, loan, and credit card accounts and categorizing what you spent each month. If you aren’t comfortable using one of these services, there are spreadsheet templates online that you can use to help organize your own budget.
Plan in advance: Planning in advance can apply to many things. Mainly, we are discussing planning for a goal and planning for the unexpected. Want to go on vacation in a few months? It is probably in your best interest to start saving ahead for the trip rather than charging your card to the limits.
In terms of planning for the unexpected, life is a spectacular journey, and no one truly knows what could happen. Recently, I encountered someone who had all of their tires slashed by local hoodlums and did not have the money to pay to have them replaced. If an emergency fund had been prudently prepared, they would have been able to purchase new tires.
Live within your means: Not everyone can drive a Maserati, live in a million dollar mansion, or take annual vacations overseas. Keeping up with the Jonses doesn’t mean you’ll be as happy as they are, and who says they’re happy anyway? Stretching yourself too thin can bring stress with it that could quash any joy that your expensive toys or home brought with them in the first place.
Work with a financial advisor: Working with a financial planner can help you to create a plan for overall financial success. They have the knowledge and the tools to help you succeed. If you can find someone that you trust and enjoy working with, you will develop a fruitful relationship that reduce the stress that finances bring during all phases of your working life and retirement.
Do you have tips for managing financial stress in your life? Share in the comments below.