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.
Disagreements about money with my wife are the WORST kind of arguments. I always tell her that unless we win the lottery we will never be in the situation where we don’t have to pay attention to our money and have discussions about how to best use the resources we have. Disagreeing about money usually occur when we don’t have our regularly scheduled budget meetings and our spending goes a bit off the rails. Accusations of who spent what and when, and discussions of how we have to ratchet things back to get back on track are stressful. When we have our regularly scheduled meetings, we’re always on the same page, no arguments occur, and everything is so much less stressful!
I agree that accusations can be a problem. I like that you have regular meetings and discussions. This can keep you both on track, and keep things from getting out of hand.
I’ve heard about JK Rolling’s story. Really interesting, but it goes to show that “mo’ money, mo’ problems” is always true!
I worry about my debt almost constantly even though I have a job and a plan to pay it off. As a single person I always feel that I am working without a safety net because I have no one to back me up financially.
Debt is a big one. We only have a mortgage and a student loan, and every month the balance goes down, but it is still something that I think about regularly. Sometimes I’ll look at the balance and say “Imagine how much lower this will be in just a couple of years.” Then I’ll think that I likely said that a couple of years ago, and I realize that as slow as things seem, progress is being made. that’s a bit of a comfort.
You really have to look at the progress you’re making. Too often we get bogged down in the present and forget to see that we really have improved. Celebrate the improvements — it will motivate you to keep going.
I have all of these at play – why am I such a worrier?!
I am worried about debt, but I am actively paying it down. I am worried about investing properly, so I have a small amount in the market to get used to the fluctuations. I just went through a raise and salary negotiation process… I did well, but I felt like I hadn’t because I got less than what I asked for.
If I could figure out a way to be a calmer, less worrying person it would definitely help. Perhaps when I have a bit more of a nest-egg it won’t feel so unbearable every time something new comes up.
Promotions do level up stress, for it is partnered with a massive addition to your job.. yes, that is a good thing, to be promoted, but you must be well aware of the responsibilities that awaits you. I think if you think you’re getting a promotion, you must expect the worst, and not just think about the money you’d get.. or it will swallow you whole.
That’s a good point about promotions! When you have greater responsibilities, it can add stress. Plus, you can end up with bigger consequences if you fail! It can definitely be a balancing act.
Having a plan can only be a good thing. But for me general money worries are the sort that makes the heart sink and restricts breathing. It carries a great weight on everyone.