How to Deal With Financial Stress
Stressing out about money is not a new thing — it’s a problem that plagues many Americans. Perhaps you’ve experienced it, worrying about debt or maybe you couldn’t bear to look at the bills stacking up. You’re not alone. According to research, over 70 percent of Americans report feeling stressed about money.
To compound the issue, stress can be exacerbated at work, especially in an office or corporate environment. Deadlines can be thrown at you last-minute, a must-do task arrives without warning, emails stack up for each one you address, phones ring, meetings are scheduled, a coworker drops the ball on a shared assignment… the list of stressors that affect your well-being are endless. Stress management is constantly an essential skill in a highly competitive and fast-paced workplace.
Michael Norton, Senior Vice President of David Lerner Associates says, “It’s a cyclical problem. The more you stress about work, the less you get done, and the more you stress about money, the less your focus is on getting your attention back to work.”
Household debt reached a record $17 trillion in the second quarter of 2021, but fortunately, many American households have felt a little bit of relief this year thanks to Covid-19-related government policies. That's according to the federal Financial Stability Oversight Council, which released its annual report for 2021 recently. The council was created by legislation following the financial crisis of 2008-2009.
The report found that while many households have been lifted up temporarily by unemployment insurance payments and stimulus checks, some people are still facing financial distress, particularly if they work in sectors that were harder hit by the pandemic, and we now face a troubling trend of inflation which is making it harder for many folks to make ends meet.
Financial stress can have many ancillary effects too. Work stress and money worries could increase your risk of having a stroke or heart attack by up to 30 percent, a new study warns. From an international sample of more than 100,000 people, researchers in Sweden have linked the risk of cardiovascular disease with high-stress levels.
So what can one do to combat this problem? To start, education is a great equalizer when it comes to finances. The more you know about a subject, the less likely you are to feel powerless and become the effect of it. Financial literacy programs are easy to find and are very beneficial.
Focusing on the basics is another easy way to combat stress and put the power back in your hands. Budgeting, saving, and making smart investments can quickly add up to a much healthier fiscal scene. Even if you just start by putting 10 or 15 percent of your paycheck into a savings account every month, you’ll start to see the savings grow. This will give you more control over your finances, reduce stress levels, and give you some breathing room to start paying off debt.
The fact is that money issues are a real problem for a lot of Americans. And if you are in the unfortunate position of feeling the stress of money woes, then maybe it’s time to get some help. The good news is that you won’t necessarily need to see a therapist — a good financial advisor could provide all the help you need.
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