What Is Financial Anxiety and What Can You Do About It?

A man sitting at the edge of his bed. He looks stressed.

Most people fret about money from time to time. In fact, cash concerns are so commonplace that you may not even realize just how much financial anxiety is affecting your everyday life. And these types of worries can have a paralyzing effect on a person’s ability to deal with them. But the good news is that taking small, targeted actions to address your financial situation is often all that’s needed to reach a better state of mind.

So, What Is Financial Anxiety?

We hear the word “anxiety” a lot these days. It refers to a strong feeling of stress or concern about something (or things) going on in life. Financial anxiety is similar – a persistent feeling of worry or anxiety about your financial situation.

If you get stressed out often over where your next paycheck is coming from or how to pay the bills, then you have likely experienced some level of financial anxiety. And if so, you have a lot of company.

According to Northwestern Mutual, 44% of people in the U.S. who responded to a survey said that money was their main source of stress. But what are they really worried about? The survey breaks down the top reasons people worry about money:

  • The high cost of healthcare: 59%
  • Lack of an emergency fund (or unexpected health expense): 55%
  • Their income: 48%
  • Not having enough savings: 48%
  • Paying off debt: 42%
  • Ability to fund their retirement: 41%

What Are the Most Common Signs You’re Struggling with Financial Anxiety?

Worrying at some point is a fact of life. And sometimes there is no fast and easy solution to problems, including financial ones. But it’s still helpful to recognize the signs of money-related anxiety, even if you haven’t figured out what to do about it just yet.

Spotting the signs as soon as possible may even help you take steps more quickly to resolve your issues. Here are some of those signs to look for:

  1. You avoid checking your bank balances or other financial statements because you’re too afraid of what you might find.
  2. Thinking about money and how to pay your bills keeps you up at night – or distracts you during the day.
  3. You feel unprepared or confused when it comes to understanding money-related issues in your life.
  4. Your avoidance has led to repercussions such as unpaid bills and late fees.
  5. You’re in a cycle of debt and don’t know how to get out.

The problem with avoiding these types of issues is that it only creates more anxiety. In other words, no matter how difficult the problem, it’s crucial to face it head on, create a plan, and take whatever steps you can to resolve it.

What Are Steps You Can Take to Address Your Financial Problems Today?

The first step to unloading some of that financial stress is getting clear with yourself as to just how financially extended you are. Whether using spreadsheets, an app or pen and paper, make a list of all of your existing financial obligations and debts. Make another list of all sources of income. Doing so will help you determine what the main causes of anxiety are, as well as any unnecessary expenses, so that you can address those payments first.

Once you’ve gathered and organized all of the pertinent financial information, you’ll be ready to make a plan that will put you on more solid footing. If you situation is complicated, you might need to create a:

  • Short-term budget
  • Medium-term budget
  • Long-term plan

If you have credit card debt or are attending college, you may need to speak to a financial advisor who can help you devise a solution that targets the most important payments first. Taking some steps to understand and address the situation should help relieve some of that financial stress you’ve been feeling so you can envision a better way forward.

Avoid Hidden Expenses: Let CFSC Help You Manage Personal Finances

Financial worries don’t usually disappear overnight. But even small steps like keeping a weekly and monthly household budget and using a prepaid debit card instead of a credit card can help you feel like you’re heading in the right direction. In addition, take advantage of the financial and auto-related services at a Community Financial Service Center (CFSC) when possible, especially if you have trouble staying financially organized.

Ready to find out what else CFSC currency exchanges can do for you? Our team can help you cash your checks promptly and ensure your bills are paid on time. Look up your closest CFSC location online so you can get started today!

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