Money is one of the leading causes of stress that many of us experience in our lives. I’ve experienced stress in my life because of money.
However, most of us need money to survive. Here are some of the ways that money can raise your stress level — and what you can do about it.
Debt: Anxiety and Helplessness
One of the biggest money-related stressors out there is debt. When you are in debt — especially if it seems insurmountable — there is no end to the anxiety. You have to worry about creditors calling, and the fact that it’s hard to reduce your principal for paying all the interest.
In order to get the better of this difficulty, it helps to create a debt reduction plan. First of all, making a plan helps you feel as though you are making progress. As long as you stick to the plan, and make changes, you can tackle your debt and get rid of it. Once you are done with your debt, you will feel less stress and anxiety, and you will feel empowered to control your financial destiny.
If you really don’t know where to start, it can be worth it to get professional help. A financial planner or reputable credit counselor can help you figure out where to start. In the most extreme cases, it might even make sense to explore bankruptcy as a way to get back on track.
Investing: Worry about Loss
Investing is another area that many people find themselves stressing over. When your portfolio plunges, it’s easy to get discouraged. The stress can even cause you to panic and sell, locking in your losses and ending up in an even worse position. For many people, investing can be hazardous to health, especially if they pick stocks.
In order to reduce some of the stress associated with investing, it makes sense to go the fund route. There are index funds and mutual funds that can provide you with assets that follow a broad swath of the market. This means that you are less likely to pick a losing investment than if you pick stocks.
You can also create a long-term investing plan that will see you through the down times. Focus on the long-term results, and try not to let fear drive you into selling when prices have dropped. This will help you stay on track with your plan, and reduce some of your stress. When you invest in products that are designed to follow the market as a whole, you reap the gains over time, rather than worrying that a stock pick will turn out to be a loser. That can provide peace of mind and reduce your stress level.
Raise: What If I Mess This Up?
Interestingly, getting a raise can add to your stress level. One of the things I read not too long ago was that J.K. Rowling was terrified when she first started making so much money from the Harry Potter books. She was worried that she would mess up, mismanaging her money and winding up broke.
When you first get a raise, it can be exhilarating, but then it’s possible for the fear, worry, and stress to set in. What will you do with the extra money? How can you put it to good use so that it isn’t squandered? How do you make a decision about the money?
The fear of messing things up when you receive a raise or a significant windfall can add stress to your life and strain your relationships. If you want to combat this stress and strain, it can help to get a professional opinion. Rather than making decisions immediately, take some time to think through your options. Consult with a professional who can help you decide the best course of action.
Getting a little help, and taking the time to think about the possibilities will help calm you down and feel better about the situation.
There are many ways that money can cause stress in your life. However, if you take a step back, create a plan, and then stick to the plan, it can help you overcome those feelings of stress.