When people find out I’m a financial planner, they: (a) ask a lot of fiscal questions; and (b) make a lot of money confessions. One admission I hear a lot?
“I’m constantly stressed about money!”
Maybe you can relate? (Especially in the current economic climate.)
If so, let me give you two reminders and five suggestions.
First, two reminders:
- Money doesn’t “contain stress.” It’s not inherently stressful. The stress comes from how we view and use money.
- Simply getting and having more isn’t the answer. Some of the most stressed individuals on earth are billionaires and Powerball winners.
Next, the five suggestions (see if these don’t reduce your financial stress!):
- Discover where your money is going.
When money is flowing in and out of your bank account, but you don’t know where it’s all going—that’s stressful!
Income is fairly easy to determine—we see the figures on our paycheck every week or month. But what about outgo? Do you know how much you’re spending monthly…and on what?
By tracking your spending, you can begin to get a handle on your financial stress.
- Decide where your money will go.
Once you know where your money is going, you can begin to take control.
The key is deciding your expenditures in advance—rather than on the fly.
We’ve all made bad spending decisions—and had regrets later. Imagine how many impulsive and unwise spending decisions you could avoid by being intentional.
What if you stopped deciding how much to spend on clothes while you’re trying them on in the dressing room? (That’s reactive spending, made in the emotion of the moment.)
What if you were proactive instead? What if you reviewed your finances first and gave yourself a limit BEFORE you shopped?
Such an approach means fewer purchases that you’ll later evaluate as “foolish.” And that means less stress.
- Develop a financial gratitude list.
Hate to break it to you, but even with planning, your wants will still exceed your means. And if you focus on what you don’t have, you’ll always feel stressed.
Let me suggest a practice that has application far beyond the financial realm (though it certainly applies here):
Each day list ten things for which you are grateful.
Gratitude reminds you of what you already possess. It’s a great stress-reliever, because of the power it has to alter our perspective.
- Discontinue comparison.
Comparison, as the old saying goes, is the thief of joy.
It either makes you prideful or pitiful, both of which produce stress.
When you feel tempted to compare your financial situation to someone else’s, go back to #3.
- Develop connections.
An old proverb says shared joys are multiplied and shared sorrows are halved.
That’s one of the main benefits people get from classes, cohorts, and small groups.
Those personal connections can help us stay motivated for the long haul. They provide a sounding board when things get hard. A personal connection for you may be a book club (that discusses financial books), a financial class, a trusted friend who’s good with money, or even a financial professional with whom you have a good relationship.
These 5 suggestions have proven to reduce the stress that arises around money.
Now it’s your turn.
Give them a try, and let me know which ones work best for you.
One last thing…is the question of retirement income one of the things that’s got you stressed? The question: “How do I turn my retirement nest egg into money I can live on for the rest of my life?!”
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll send you a free link to take the RISA® Profile. This simple, ingenious quiz takes mere minutes, and it can save you a LOT of stress in retirement.
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