How long has it been since you felt financially secure? If you do not feel financially secure, what have you done about it? Have you noticed that you have become anxious about money? It’s hard not to stress about money—unless you’re pretty wealthy money can be a stressor. I’m here to validate that anxious feeling but also to encourage you to do better.
Is it time for you to get your finances on the right track? Do you want to feel like you know what you’re doing with your money? If so keep reading.
First things first to really get a grasp on your money consulting with an accountant or finance adviser can help guide you with your financials, but here are some useful tips that could help you reduce that financial anxiety. Some of you might be experiencing financial anxiety to the point that it keeps you from living your most fulfilling life.
What is financial anxiety
This is obsessive feeling of worry about your financial situation to the point that it is negatively impacting your life. For example, you might notice that you overspend, hoard, and are afraid of spending, which could lead to depression or anxiety. These behaviors can negatively impact your daily living. Let’s break this down a little more.
Overspending: Point blank the obvious you are spending more than you are earning. This could include overspending on shopping sprees, online shopping, going out to eat, activities, etc. You don’t have the finances or it is outside your budget but yet you spend anyway. It can feel like an impulse to buy things you don’t need. These things might only provide temporary relief from anxiety or loneliness. For example, the feeling of excitement can happen when shopping but only togo home and leave everything in shopping bags or still with price tags. So then you have to go back and question what was the purpose of spending on those items. Chances are those things only temporarily filled a void.
A fear of spending: This is the case when you save money and are afraid of spending it because you may lose it all at any time. We should save a certain percentage of our income. However, if you are refusing to spend money even if you have the means to because of fear that you will no longer be financially secure, it can be debilitating. Hoarding your income will not help you if you are not investing it or spending it on what you need. People that are frugal are often seen as being “cheap” since they come off as not wanting to spend but most frugal people want to justify their spending.
People with depression can at times go on shopping sprees or spend more than they can afford to compensate for the feelings of loneliness and emptiness that they are experiencing. People with anxiety can buy things out of impulse to self-soothe. Some people are not aware that their spending is getting out of control until they are seeing the credit card debt build up or their bank account is in a deficit. On the other hand, those who refuse to spend will notice that they might feel lonely since they are not partaking in other activities with others due to not wanting to spend. Hoarding your income to the point that you will only spend on things that are cheap is not a way of maximizing your life. The tricky part is creating a balance between spending on yourself as a reward or treat versus living way above your means.
Creating a budget:
In order to feel good about your finances you should be properly managing it. That means spending within reason and your means. If you are struggling financially buying a new pair of 300$ shoes is not going to get you out of a financial slump. Buying a new car when your car is functioning fine is not the best financial investment especially if you alreadyaccrued debt. You don’t need the new iPhone every year or the newest earpods when you have a pair of headphones that function just fine. The next step is to begin creating a budget. Create a budget to get yourself on the financial track. You can do things the old fashion way and write your monthly income and monthly expenses on paper or use a budgeting app like, Mint that will help you organize your monthly budget. Creating an expense sheet to track you income coming in and your spending will show you where your money is going. Although apps are great for budgeting you still have to address the impulse to overspend. This is why talking to a professional is helpful.
Getting professional help
Another way to address your depression and anxiety is to talk to a mental health professional. A mental health professional is not a financial advisor, but they can help you in addressing those feelings of loneliness and impulsivity which then could help you reduce the need to overspend or hoard money. Maybe you were not taught how to manage your finances and there are many books providing guidance on how to improve your financial situation. Combining self-help books with a professional therapist is a great way to get you to have an improve relationship with yourself and money. Reading a couple of books and listening to podcasts on managing finances won't instantly make you an expert but with knowledge you can improve your situation. Once you begin to improve your financial situation you will begin to noticethat weight off your shoulders and less anxiety and worry.
Writing down your goals
Another way to improve your financial situation is to begin to write down your goals. Write down where you want your life to be a year from now and watch yourself do whatever it takes to acquire it. Write down what you want and your goals as if you believe it will happen. There must be a realistic approach to these goals. For example, if you would like a nice car, think about what you need to improve to get that. As you write your goals take a step back to read them and notice if all the listed goals are things. If they are only things, then think once you have this stuff will the feelings of happiness last? Chances are if your goals are only things, you might over time revert to feeling empty. Make sure what your goals are that it will be something that will bring you joy. These are the goals that will motivate you to improve your situation.
Improving your financial anxiety
Once you begin being proactive of creating a balance with your finances you will begin to see a reduction in your financial anxiety. Speaking to a counselor on identifying where your anxiety comes from can be helpful as well. The more you educate yourself, the more you can help yourself.