If The News Is Making You Anxious About Money, You're Not Alone. These 4 Tips Can Help

Financial anxiety doesn’t have to be caused by a lack of money.

According to Gallup, Americans’ financial worries have increased the most with regards to paying monthly bills (up eight percentage points to 40%) and maintaining the standard of living they enjoy (up seven points to 52%). But concern has also increased, by five points, on paying one’s rent or mortgage (35%), making minimum payments on credit cards (22%), and having enough money for retirement (63%).

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The levels of financial anxiety felt now are also notably back on par to when the pandemic just hit in March 2020, and the tremendous effects on the economy and stock markets. There’s a collective feeling of dread that is being felt at all income levels as we watch financial events unravel with effects on our spending power and affordability.

Financial anxiety is anxiety caused by money and/or personal finances, that causes feelings of fear, anxiety, worry, stress, shame, and a range of negative emotions. Financial anxiety doesn’t have to be caused by a lack of money.

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I have heard from many women that I coach that even when they are in a “state of abundance” they’re still worried about money. Those who suffer from financial anxiety are in a perpetual state of worry and fear about day-to-day bills, day-to-day spending, and investing, and it can be very debilitating for some people. 

Unresolved financial trauma from the past can also lead to financial anxiety, which can also further lead to making sub-optimal financial decisions over a lifetime, potentially costing an individual hundreds of thousands of dollars, from an investment perspective. Our past experiences around money can be directly responsible for our emotions around money today. Financial anxiety can cause fear, doubt, and lack of confidence and block you from achieving your financial goals and your purpose in life.

Here are some strategies to cope with financial anxiety:

1. Take a holistic look at your financial position and assess your physical and emotional symptoms (stress, anxiety, guilt, etc.)

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According to Paige Brettle, Associate Financial Consultant, Certified Health Insurance Specialist, and Certified Holistic Wealth TM Consultant with the Institute on Holistic Wealth, “Explore your money history and money stories (the current framework in which your money house is built). That will provide you with the basis from which to make conscious, well-reasoned decisions moving forward, and help reduce your overall financial anxiety. 

Write down/record what you want your money to do for you. Ask yourself:

– What bothers me about money? 

– What excites me about money? 

– What would my current day (and future days) look like and feel like if I had no worries about money?”

2. Get to know your personal financial identity so you can work with your natural tendencies around money.

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It’s also great to get to know your personal financial identity. Knowing your personal financial identity helps with self-awareness, self-preservation, and self-advocacy. Many women that I’ve coached have indicated that honing the strengths of their personal financial identity has increased their overall financial confidence and reduced their money worries around their spending decisions. 

For example, my personal financial identity is the risk taker, and understanding this has helped give me the confidence to lean into my financial identity after my husband died when I was just 31 years old. I kept on investing and taking measured risks toward my goals. I figured out my weaknesses as a risk taker and worked hard to be conscious and self-aware about my money tendencies. 

Most importantly, I stopped questioning every money decision I made, and my anxiety levels were drastically reduced. 

3. Pick one thing you can do right now to feel better about your relationship with money.

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Hint: It could be forgiving yourself for having already done the things you like to do — morning coffee, dinner out — and making a conscious decision to make a manageable change to save some money on one of these decisions from this point in time forward. 

According to Paige, “Start small with your money changes. Smaller changes are more sustainable — and once you have made a series of different decisions and you feel encouraged by your ability to effect change in your life, you can continue to ‘upgrade’ the size and scope of your changes. Give yourself a reason to be proud of yourself. The good vibes will only continue to increase.”

Write down/record: 

– Your earliest memory of money

– The first words that come to mind when you read the word “money”

– When was the first time you felt a sense of shame or embarrassment around money? How did you respond in that moment? Would you respond differently today, do you think? Why or why not? 

Psst, looking for some inspo? Check out these 17 life-changing money habits that our readers swear by

4. And finally, cutting back on your spending might also help you feel more in control.

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According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, May’s food prices were 8.3% higher than they were a year ago. To compensate for higher prices, it’s good to cut back and save wherever you can.

Many listeners of my podcast have told me that they have gone back to their go-to savings tricks: cutting out subscriptions, opting into their grocery store’s loyalty program for extra discounts, using a credit card that gives bonus cash back on grocery purchases, and planning weekly menus around sales. Going back to these spending and saving tricks are essential in a high-inflation environment, as the USDA predicts food prices will continue to increase, growing from 4.5% to 5.5% in 2022.

According to Paige, “It’s never too late, and there is always time to make different financial choices. With every sunrise comes a new opportunity and every sunset a day fully lived. The choice to reflect on past and current decisions rests with you. The choice to take action and do something different in order to achieve a different outcome rests with you. Take a deep breath. Find a place where you feel safe. Enjoy a treat for your troubles (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, a chocolate chip cookie) — and give yourself a break.”

Do you have any other tips for coping with anxiety about money? Share what’s worked for you in the comments!

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