According to the American Psychological Association's annual Stress in America survey, almost 70 percent of Americans single out money as the number-one factor that affects their stress level. Thirty-three percent said that money worries are a very significant factor contributing to stress.
If you're feeling stressed about money, how can you solve your money problems and get financial stress under control?
Tips to ease financial stress
- Don't let credit card debt break your back. Consumers who run up high credit card balances and then regularly pay only the minimum amount due each month are paying very high prices for goods and services. The key to relieving financial stress is to get out of debt. Too much debt eats away at your take-home income and undermines your financial future.
- Eliminate your debt. Borrowing money for an asset that accumulates value (e.g. family home) can be a good thing. All other debt should be eliminated. Examine the interest rates you are paying on your debts and pay off those with the highest interest rates first.
- Curb your spending. For most people, overspending and having too much debt is the cause of money problems–it is not because they are not making enough money. Learn basic money management skills. Commit to living within your means.
- Keep money in reserve for the unexpected. Unexpected financial expenses hit all of us from time to time. Make sure you have a reserve to cope with these out-of-the-blue expenses. Having money in reserve will give you peace of mind.
- Seek professional help. If financial pressures are getting you down seek professional help. Call your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for information and referrals. Your EAP counselor can help you assess what issue(s) may be contributing to your money problems and refer you to the proper resources to help you overcome the problem(s). These resources may include a financial planner, debt consolidation agency, mental health/ substance abuse assistance, or other community services.