Let’s face it, money is a serious stressor in our lives. From putting food on the table, gas in your automobile and desiring to travel the world, we need and want more money. How can we finally stop stressing about it? Is it possible to stop stressing about money?
You are not alone
I grew up financially insecure. My mother gave birth to me when she was just 17 years old. With a difficult pregnancy, she made the decision to drop out of high school. As you can imagine, life was tough for us in more ways than one, but money, by far, was the biggest stressor.
Fast forward to my life today, I am financially independent and work only when I choose. I do work that gives me joy and purpose.
But guess what?
I still feel stress around money.
I’m so grateful that I am not concerned where my next meal will come from. But I still have anxiety around healthcare, insurance, and household repairs.
My laptop hard drive crashed this week and I immediately began thinking, “I hope I can repair it because I didn’t budget nor do I want to spend several thousand dollars on a new laptop!” The feeling of needing to spend money made me anxious.
If you stress about money, you are not alone in that feeling. Even those in retirement or near-retirement cite inflation and declining purchasing power as a major concern. Seventy-seven percent of respondents of a recent survey report rising inflation as their top concern for the future, above healthcare at 74% (Personal Capital and Kiplinger, 2021).
What can you do to stop stressing?
First, take inventory of your current situation.
Often, I hear people say they are afraid to know their true net worth or financial situation. Take time to write down all of your expenses and assets. Then you can plug your accounts into Personal Capital’s free financial dashboard to keep it up to date and view your net worth in real time, anytime. Having a clear picture of your financial situation helps alleviate some stress.
Next, decide what improvements would help you reduce stress around your personal finances. Would paying off a particular debt relieve your biggest stress? Would increasing your income to purchase a home or maybe even a well-deserved vacation reduce your stress? Or is it something more long term such as saving for retirement?
It’s valuable to look at your situation by the numbers and then decide what is truly causing the stress.
Finally, get help and seek professional advice to help you with the major financial stressor. When you are working toward a goal, you may feel better about the direction when you have professional insights backing your decisions.
Taking action — no matter how big or small the steps — will help you feel more confident in the situation because you are doing something about it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking it one step at a time. Just keep making progress and you may be surprised at how much better you feel!
This is exactly what I did. I was concerned about not having enough money to fall back on in case I lost my job or couldn’t work anymore.
So I took action by paying off all debt first. That was my biggest stressor.
Then I started saving like crazy and investing in my 401k until I could max it out. The nest egg grew year-over-year, and before I knew it, I was financially independent.
When I stress about money now, I remind myself that everything is just fine by reviewing my accounts and taking action if I need to make any adjustments. Then I feel much better.
Resources to help you take action
I love discovering new tools to get myself on the path I want to take.
Here are a couple of my recommendations:
Download 65 Ways to Retire Smart, an actionable guide with insights from fiduciary financial advisors. The guide is free.
Sign up for the Personal Capital Dashboard. Millions of people use these free and secure online financial tools — including myself! The free tools help you with budgeting, planning for a big spend, and of course, preparing financially for retirement. They certainly helped me.
Featured individual is a paid spokesperson and not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) and does not make any endorsements or recommendations about securities offerings or investment strategy. The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.