One of the most common causes of stress is money; whether you have a six-figure salary or live month-to-month, we all worry about money to some extent. Many of these concerns stem from uncertainty surrounding earning it, keeping it, growing it and even spending it. What’s more, money and mental health are interlinked; poor mental health can make managing your finances harder, and feeling stressed about money can make you feel worse. It’s a real catch-22.
Stress infiltrates into all aspects of life; we might find ourselves becoming distracted at work, unable to sleep, or it may begin to impact our relationships. Which in turn will make us more stressed. So, how can you go about breaking that cycle? Here we share our 5 top tips for managing your money worries and taking action.
What is financial stress?
Financial stress is worry, fear or anxiety about finances. It can be triggered by a financial/and or economic event.
We only need to look at the most recent pandemic as an example; according to the Office for National Statistics, the latest personal well-being study found that in the second quarter of 2020, the UK public reached its highest level of anxiety since the data first started being collected back in 2011. Throughout this period, financial shock caused people to question the security of their future finances.
We all experience stress in different ways, and various financial events can trigger different responses. Sometimes we recognise a change in our behaviour and can pinpoint what has caused it. Yet, other times we can push on without addressing symptoms of stress. However, this tends to catch up with us in the long term.
The first step to combatting stress is spotting the signs.
Mind Charity has outlined signs of stress to look out for, including:
- Feeling irritated or overwhelmed
- Anxious, scared, or worried
- Unmotivated and uninterested in life
- A racing mind that you can’t seem to slow
And physical effects might include:
- Aches and pains
Why is it important to manage stress?
Life tends to throw obstacles our way, and that’s unlikely to change. Instead, we need to look at what we can change and alter how we react in these situations.
Effective stress management is essential for you to maintain a positive balance across different aspects of your life. It’ll help you:
- Improve your focus
The less time you spend worrying, the more time and headspace you have to make informed decisions and focus on the things you enjoy doing most.
- Enhance your interpersonal relationships
Spending time caring for yourself and tending to your worries will only serve to improve your ability to care for others. Self-care isn’t selfish!
- Boost your health and wellbeing
What’s the one thing we don’t tend to have enough of? Well, you’d be wrong to think money; it’s time. And usually, we spend the least of our precious time on ourselves. You need to invest time in yourself, and a little bit of self-care goes a long way to boost your health and wellbeing.
Our top 5 tips for managing your money worries
Tidy house, tidy mind. Is it time you sorted through your paperwork and cleared out anything you don’t need? You might find it prompts you to act on things you put off.
Once decluttered, it’s time to prioritise. When faced with too many financial decisions at once, it can be overwhelming, so work out what can wait versus what can’t.
Make sure your list is manageable and achievable.
If you’re setting unrealistic goals for yourself, then you’re preparing yourself to fail, which never feels good. Instead, set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-based.
Set your long-term goals, then break these down into smaller objectives and remember to track your progress.
4. Track your spending
The only way to truly feel in control of your finances is by knowing how much you have and how much you need to live the life you want.
Knowing this requires sitting down and drawing a complete picture of your incomings and outgoings. Factoring in any planned expenditure for the future, and leaving some money aside as your emergency fund, is your current spending sustainable?
How much is enough is a trickier question to answer without using sophisticated software to forecast your wealth over your lifetime. We use cash flow planning as a core part of our process as it allows us to build a complete picture of someone’s financial situation.
5. Ask for help
Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. It shows that you’ve acknowledged there’s a problem, and you’re ready to try and tackle it. When it comes to organising your finances, it’s often difficult to know where to start. But, with the help of a financial planner, you can voice your concerns, and their team will set to work on providing the best solutions for you and your specific set of circumstances.
- Take the stress test to find out what your main stressors are and receive a personalised set of recommendations
- A helpful guide on how to reduce and manage stress more generally
- A complete financial planning checklist for you to get a handle on your finances.
- If you think you could benefit from the help of a financial planner, here’s our guide to finding a planner you can trust
- A list of helpful contacts if stress is causing a disturbance in your life
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your finances or anything else at all, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and speak to one of our professional financial planners.