Money Anxiety? You’re Not Alone

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( — May 20, 2024) — Financial anxiety is a pervasive issue affecting millions of Americans, with 90% reporting that money worries impact their stress levels, according to a study from Thriving Wallet. From student loan repayments and soaring car notes to medical bills and rent, it’s no surprise that financial stress is rampant. The good news is that there are steps you can take to manage this anxiety and regain control of your financial well-being. Here are three essential tips from Michael A. Scarpati, CEO of RetireUS.

Tip #1: Identify Your Financial Concerns

The first step in overcoming financial anxiety is to identify the specific worries that keep you up at night. Start by listing out everything that concerns you financially, whether it’s the fear of unexpected medical expenses, job security, or not having enough saved for retirement. Putting these fears on paper helps clarify what specifically is causing stress and sets the stage for addressing these issues methodically.

For instance, if you’re worried about not having enough saved for retirement, this might stem from a lack of knowledge about how much you need to save or uncertainty about how to invest your money. By identifying this concern, you can start seeking information and resources to address it. 

Tip #2: Conduct a Financial Reality Check

Once you’ve identified your financial concerns, the next step is to conduct a thorough assessment of your financial situation. Dedicate a day to review your income, expenses, debts, and savings without interruptions. This step is crucial for uncovering the reality of your financial health and can be a wake-up call to action or a reassurance that you’re on the right track.

For example, you might discover that a significant portion of your income goes towards servicing high-interest debt. By identifying this, you can create a plan to pay off these debts more aggressively, such as through debt consolidation or by prioritizing payments towards the highest interest accounts first. This can free up more of your income for savings and other important financial goals.

Tip #3: Prioritize and Take Action

With a clear understanding of your financial fears and the actual state of your finances, it’s time to prioritize and take action. Compare your list of financial concerns with your financial reality to identify where you should focus your efforts first. Address the most pressing issues and commit to new habits that will help mitigate these worries.

In this case, if your primary concern is high-interest credit card debt, prioritize paying down this debt to reduce the interest burden. You might also consider meeting with an independent financial professional for a Financial Wellness Review. 

The Link Between Finances and Mental Health

Chronic financial stress can lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of physical health issues such as hypertension and a weakened immune system. A study by the American Psychological Association found that nearly three-quarters of Americans feel stressed about money at least some of the time, and this stress often leads to unhealthy coping behaviors like overeating, smoking, or drinking.

For those struggling with financial anxiety, the cycle can feel unbreakable. However, by taking proactive steps like identifying your financial concerns, conducting a reality check, and prioritizing actions, you can start to regain control over your finances and improve your mental health. 

Platforms like RetireUS offer valuable tools and guidance to help individuals navigate their financial journeys, making high-quality financial advice accessible to everyone. With dedication and the right resources, you can overcome financial anxiety and achieve a more secure and stress-free financial future. 

By addressing the root causes of financial stress and providing accessible support, we can hope to see significant improvements in the overall well-being of Americans. Taking control of your finances is not just about numbers; it’s about taking control of your life and mental health.