Is Money the #1 Cause of Stress for You?
, by Rob Kaufman
Data from Northwestern Mutual's 2018 Planning & Progress Study discovered that money is the number one cause of stress among Americans. Financial stress appears to be more of a problem than personal relationships or work.
As a matter of fact, in 2017, 37% of Americans said they felt a moderate-high anxiety level when thinking about saving for retirement. In 2018, that number jumped to 41%. Another interesting stat: in 2017, 40% of Americans felt anxious about outliving their retirement savings. In 2018, that number increased to 46%.
So, what does that mean? In simple terms, financial anxiety is on the rise and we need to learn how to try to keep it under control.
What is Financial Anxiety?
Financial anxiety is that feeling of panic that arises when your financial "thoughts" start racing: If you lost your job, how would you pay your bills? With all the loans you have how are you going to get out of debt? Will your budget last through to the end of the month? Will you have enough money to enjoy life through retirement?
Based on the statistics above, these worries are on a growing number of people's minds and for good reasons - job security isn't what it used to be, the outlook for the economy goes up and down every day and we hear the words recession and inflation daily.
So how can we help lower the stress?
- Knowledge Equals Power
When you know exactly how much you have in the bank, how much debt you owe, and what your future plans are, some of the anxiety should decrease. Most of us sit around stressing about financial issues when we're not even certain of the facts. Once we know the exact numbers we're working with, it makes things a bit more concrete, so we know the next actions to take.
- Reorganize Your Budget
If your finances are causing you stress, it means something isn't right with your budget. So now is the time to review your bills and expenses to ensure you know your numbers. Set up an "emergency fund" so that you're prepared for the unexpected. If you find that you're in the red each month, reduce the amount of spending for things you may not need (or find another way to increase your income). Create a payoff plan
for your debt so that you can feel that you're on the road to financial success. Oftentimes, just taking these steps can help lower financial anxiety triple-fold.
- Find the Help You Need
Just like some people who get help when they have emotional anxiety, you might want to find assistance if you have financial anxiety. Find experts you trust who can provide you with the advice you need to help you feel more at ease with your financial situation and who can possibly assist with enhancing it. Accountants can help you with budgeting and tax issues. Credit counselors can offer different ways to tackle debt issues. Insurance experts can provide help with mitigating financial risk when it comes to property and health. If you're stressed about your finances, don't go it alone. Find an expert or advisor who can help you take the uncertainty out of your financial situation and help lower your financial stress.
Think you're the only one stressing over your finances? Think again. See what members are saying at myFICO forums... you might learn a thing or two about how to reduce your financial stress.