4 tips for managing money worries from a financial planner who gets it

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  • Many people experience financial anxiety – myself included, and I’m a financial planner.
  • I find that being able to keep myself from catastrophizing makes a big difference.
  • It also helps to be aware of my money as well as to learn from the mistakes I inevitably make.

Maybe you’re worried about how to pay your bills, save for emergencies, or manage your debt. Money stress can quickly turn into financial anxiety, which can leave you feeling powerless in your situation and unable to change anything.

If you’re struggling with financial anxiety, you’re not alone. More than three out of four Americans say they are concerned about their finances, and nearly 60% feel their finances control their lives.

Part of the reason I became a financial advisor was to help people understand their financial fears and empower them through education to make smarter, more sustainable financial decisions.

But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to money stress — in fact, I experience the same feelings of financial anxiety that many of my friends and family come to me with.

What is financial anxiety?

Financial anxiety typically focuses on insecurity, instability, and fear of the unknown. More often than not, anxious thoughts revolve around the future and what can (and can’t) happen.

Financial anxiety can range from stress about your overall financial situation to worries about more specific issues like saving, retirement, buying a home, etc Cost of your child’s education. It can show up in many different ways, e.g. B. by avoiding checking your credit card balances, saving obsessively, monitoring your accounts or worrying endlessly about money. In short, financial fears are difficult to manage. If left unactivated, it can quickly overwhelm you and interfere with your daily life.

Financial anxiety comes to me in a number of ways. It could be short-term factors, e.g. B. when I feel like I’m spending too much in a given month, or when an unexpected expense has cropped up and I’m worried I’ll have to dive into savings to cover it. Or it’s focused on meeting my long-term goals, such as: B. Saving for retirement or buying a new home.

Luckily, years of financial planning has helped me deal with financial anxiety and not derail my day (or week). That’s how I handle it.

4 Strategies for Dealing with Financial Anxiety

Ignore disasters and focus on the now

When I used to be scared, I imagined the worst possible scenario in order to have more control over the situation. If I prepared for the worst I would never be surprised, right? Unfortunately, catastrophizing only feeds your existing fear (and may uncover even more things to worry about!).

So now I try to remind myself of that whenever I’m stressing about money statistical, only 8% of the things people worry about come true. In other words, nine times out of ten your worries are unfounded.

Don’t underestimate the power of mindfulness here, especially when it comes to financial worries. When I start worrying about the future, I will try to gently bring myself back to the present and ask myself if I can control it right now. Most of the time, my stress is based on a hypothetical situation that hasn’t happened yet. It’s definitely true when you say, “We’re going to cross that bridge when we get there.”

Stay in touch with your money

The less you know or understand about your financial situation, the easier it is for financial anxiety to creep in. Little things like checking your account balance, Fill in your budget, or creating a plan to pay off debt can give you a sense of control over your financial situation and empower you to take steps to improve your finances. It also limits the runaway feelings that financial anxiety can bring.

Creating a financial plan is key to building confidence and overcoming financial anxiety. While going through your finances can be stressful at first, your anxiety will only increase the longer you wait. For many people, tearing off the patch is the hardest part – once you start you’ll find that it’s usually not as bad as you thought.

Create your “why”

What do you want to achieve in your life? For me, it’s a combination of long-term goals—early retirement and buying a house—and short-term goals, like a long-awaited vacation in Japan. It’s easy to jump into action and sort through all your bank statements. But finding some kind of “why” behind what you’re doing can keep you calm, positive, and focused.

I also make it a point to openly share my financial goals with my family and friends. Not only does it keep me accountable and motivated to stay on track, it also makes me feel more comfortable reaching out to them when I feel like I’m off course. Talking to someone about your financial situation can reduce overall stress, and loved ones can often help and encourage you to create a plan to improve it.

live and learn

Everyone makes money mistakes – and I’m definitely one of those people. Every time I’ve failed financially (whether it’s an overpriced purchase or a bad investment), I try to take a second to assess the situation and learn from it what I did wrong.

While it can be awkward to admit you screwed up, facing up to your mistake can help you prevent it from happening again and move on — reducing your anxiety and stress in doing so.

For me, the best way to control my financial anxiety is not to let it control you. We cannot predict the future, but we can control our actions and how we react to events or circumstances.

I’m a big believer in flexible financial planning and the power to take action. Some of my worst periods of financial stress led to some of my smartest money decisions, simply because my financial anxiety forced me to revisit my financial plan and take action.

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