It’s Time to Take Control
Are money matters stressing you out? If so, it’s time to take control of your finances! When I was doing a bit of research for an article with Authority Magazine (you can read the full interview here), there was one statistic that brought financial stress into clear focus. According to the American Psychological Association’s annual Stress In America survey:
“Inflation was reported as a source of stress for the vast majority of adults (83%), and the majority of all adults also said the economy (69%) and money (66%) are a significant source of stress.”
It sure seems like a lot of people are stressed out about their finances, with good reason. Shockingly few people get a solid financial education from their parents or schooling. When we don’t grow up talking openly and honestly about money, where it comes from, and how it works, we can pick up some bad habits. Those habits can be hard to unlearn. And we all know that stress is bad for our minds and our bodies.
I work with people undergoing financial stress every day, and I see that fear and insecurity most often lie at the heart of it. Will we be able to afford the things that we need to take care of ourselves and our families? What if we lose our home, our car, our job – because we can’t pay our bills? And what happens when we don’t have a safety net? Compound that with rampant inflation, and suddenly people are living with higher debt burdens. And insufficient income to create a comfortable present and the ideal future they want for themselves.
Having a healthy money mindset is vital, having a plan is essential, and committing to a process can make a world of difference. If money matters are stressing you out and affecting your mental health, I want to help you. We probably can’t overhaul your entire money mindset in one article, but you can start taking small, actionable steps today to work towards a bright financial future.
5 Steps to Reduce Financial Stress
Feeling powerless doesn’t feel good, but taking charge does. Take charge of your finances with these 5 steps:
#1 – Know Your Numbers: Information is power! You can’t solve financial problems without a complete understanding of their extent. It might be uncomfortable to look at your student loan debt or your credit score. But you can’t move forward without knowing them. Take a little time to sort through all of your accounts. Then pull together the essential data: disposable income, total debt, net worth, and debt-free date when loans will be paid off.
#2 – Create a Budget: If you tell your money where to go, you don’t need to wonder where it went. Let go of the idea that a budget is restrictive and think of it as smart planning instead. Give every dollar coming in an assignment. And know ahead of time how much you’re going to spend at the grocery store, how much is going to pay down debt, etc. This will reduce unwanted surprises at the end of the month. When you become confident in your budgeting skills, you’ll pay bills on time, improve your credit score, and stress less.
#3 – Pay Yourself First: Automate a portion of your paycheck – at least 10% – to go into a separate savings account. Call it a safety net or a rainy-day fund: having a little cash set aside for emergencies is a must. Without automation, it’s easy to fall into the mental trap of thinking you can’t afford it or the impulse to spend it on non-essentials. But if you don’t see it go into the primary checking account, you won’t notice it’s missing – and you won’t spend it. That emergency fund will build up quicker than you think, and your peace of mind makes it all worth it.
“Pay yourself first is a personal finance strategy of increased and consistent savings and investment while also promoting frugality.” – Investopedia
#4 – Reduce or Eliminate Debt: The general rule of thumb is to pay down high-interest rate debt, like credit card bills, first, so we can spend less on compound interest and keep more in our pockets. Debt can’t be ignored, so plan to confront it head-on instead. Make a plan as part of your budgeting process, stick to it, and find out how good it feels when you’re finally debt-free!
#5 – Ask for Help: This might seem like a lot to process, but you don’t need to do it all on your own. Ease your mind and your burden by seeking support. Reach out to a financial coach, planner, or advisor who can teach you how to manage your money. Or find an accountability partner, someone you can go to for guidance or just check in with periodically to help you stay on track. And call those creditors to ask about programs that can help you pay down, consolidate, or refinance your debt.
Now that you know where to start, I invite you to take a deeper dive into basic financial literacy skills, including how to get out of debt, retain more income, organize and protect assets, and find financial freedom. The 4-part G.R.O.W. Finances course is now available on demand. It’s all the fundamentals that I believe everyone should know.
And it gets even better. If you register by May 31, you can take advantage of a special discount offer! Use coupon code SAVE200 at checkout and get $200 off the regular price. If you’re ready to eliminate money worries, you can register here.
Don’t let financial stress impact your mental health anymore. I know you can take control of your finances and begin to thrive – and I’m here to help!