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How to Manage Financial Stress
Financial Stress Impacts Families
It’s true; life can be stressful and the economic downturn didn’t help alleviate any stress. It actually added to it.
Before the economic downtown people were already worried about sending their kids to college and planning for retirement, but now people are sweating bullets about the stability of their jobs if they have one, as well as myriad of issues associated with the economy from housing to healthcare.
If you are stressed out because of your finances then know you are not alone. Many Americans are facing many of the same financial problems.
Symptoms of Financial Stress
Stress is not good for anyone on any level because it does the following;
· prevents you from getting out bed and taking action
· inhibits your ability to seek opportunities
· may cause you to engage in negative behaviors like over indulging in alcohol or shopping
· may cause you to experience ill health like headaches, tension, or upset stomach
· might cause you to withdraw from your loved ones and colleagues
All of these problems associated with financial stress do the opposite of what you need to happen to overcome stress. Those behaviors and symptoms cost money.
What happens if you don’t get out of bed? You may miss work and if you don’t have sick time that’ll cost you money.
What happens if you don’t seek opportunities? You may miss an opportunity for help that might get you out of debt or a new job?
What happens if you overindulge in alcohol or shopping? You may spend money you don’t have. You might lose your job.
What happens if you have ill health? You have to go to the doctor? You may need to pay for a prescription? You might have to take off work?
What happens if you withdraw from your loved ones, colleagues and friends? That is the saddest of them all. You don’t get to spend time with the people who can support you and possibly help you.
Taking Action Changes Everything
Get Moving & Take Action
If you do have any of the above financial stress symptoms or behaviors, taking the following steps to manage your stress can get you back on the financial track. Explore strategies such as:
1. Get up and get moving – walk toward your financial problems and don’t run from them
2. Write down each of your financial problems – for example if you need a job, write it down, need to pay down debt, improve credit, etc
3. Categorize which problems you can tackle first – tackle one problem at a time and don’t move to the other one until you have succeeded in addressing the most important problem.
4. Investigate resources to help you solve your financial problems – Do you need to speak to a creditor to work out payment arrangements? Do you need to have your resume polished to get a better job? Do you need to improve your skills to get a better job?
5. Ask for help – Who in your network can help you solve your problems? If you don’t have one what public resources can provide you with help for free i.e. job training at a local college? A free debt management class? Do you a friend or colleague who can help you write your resume?
6. Take action now – once you have a identified the problem, found resources and ask for help – get started on your plan.
You might be surprised to learn that by doing a little something about your problem every day doesn’t really take a lot of time. Taking action will help you manage your stress. Small changes in how you handle your finances will reduce your stress in the long term.