How to Manage Money Stress
Stress. We all have it. In fact, it’s a normal part of life. But, if stress isn’t properly managed, it can be incredibly detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional health.
This year in particular, stress has stretched to new heights as a result of COVID-19. With social distancing, increased isolation, mass lay-offs, and finding time to balance remote work and teaching your kids at home, it’s no surprise that a study conducted by the Commonwealth Fund found ⅓ of adults experience stress, anxiety, and great sadness as a result of the pandemic.
To make matters worse, more than 30 million people are trying to make ends meet without a job and little insight into what the future holds for the economy. Talk about stress.
Oftentimes, Stress is Really “Money Stress”
Money stress is perhaps one of the most pertinent forms of stress affecting Americans today. The same Commonwealth Fund study discovered over 30% of Americans faced negative financial impacts due to the pandemic. This is significantly more than in the comparison countries Australia, France, Canada, U.K and other high income countries.
Even before the pandemic, finances were the main cause of stress:
- 54% financial or money matters/challenges
- 18% their job
- 12% relationships
- 11% health concerns
- 5% other
And, with an economic recession unfolding, money stress will undoubtedly increase. In fact, 46% of workers are “extremely” or “moderately” concerned about their household income. That’s almost half!
Money Stress Affects Everyone
Money stress doesn’t discriminate when it comes to the amount of money you make. It can plague anyone and everyone in different ways. Surprisingly, 42% of those with household incomes of more than $100,000 reported living paycheck to paycheck this year. What’s even more startling? More than half (61%) reported their emergency funds will run out before the end of the year!
So, How Can You Manage Money Stress? Here Are Some Suggestions…
Identify the cause. The first and most important step in addressing your money stress is to understand the root cause. Where does the stress stem from? Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you dealing with unexpected emergency expenses?
- Is more money leaving your bank account than is coming in?
- Do you need to reprioritize the items in your budget?
- Can you easily eliminate expenses by reducing unnecessary spending like eating out or shopping?
Overthinking. When we’re dealing with money stress, it can seem impossible not to think about it. Our finances have the ability to take up our time and focus if we allow it. Give yourself permission to take a break from your money problems and explore healthy, productive outlets like hiking, reading a book, or meditating. Partake in any free activity you enjoy so that you can take your mind off money. The idea is to limit your negative thought patterns that instigate stress so that you’ll have more energy and focus to actually tackle your money stress head-on.
Create new habits. Recognize your behavior and identify how you manage stress related to money. How can you make changes so they’re healthier habits? Plan something small each day to focus on. Outline short-term goals that you can achieve in order to be successful in the long-term. Write down ways you can reduce expenses and allocate your monthly budget more efficiently. Then, commit to a plan and review it regularly. This exercise can be anxiety-provoking the the short-term, but will help you put your goals into action.
Your Employer Can Help You Too
As employers are beginning to learn, money stress and health are linked, which is why 42% of employers said they offered financial wellness programs and 19% said they were in the process of implementing one.
In addition, 75% of employees report that they value their companies as a trusted source for assistance when their employers are committed to employee financial wellness. The benefits of supporting employees’ financial well-being are clear, especially during a crisis. Financial wellness programs increase employee productivity, boost engagement, and improve physical and mental health and well-being.
Does your employee offer a financial wellness program with an employee loan option? Much of an employees’ money stress (or lack thereof) is directly related to their financial burdens at home. If an employee is dealing with debt, unexpected high medical bills, or an expensive financial emergency, it will impact their work. If your organization doesn’t have a financial wellness program in place already, consider implementing for the new year.
To learn more about TrueConnect, contact us today.