As I’ve aged, it seems like life’s stresses have become more and more dominant in my life. To manage these, I’m continually trying to identify ways to lessen their burden. Vacations for me are a time to get away from the day-to-day requirements of job obligations and all of the things that we have filled our lives with from sports to various financial commitments. To that note, I just returned from a great vacation to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks where I was able to spend time with the family and spend most of the time disconnected from the world’s technologies. My boys may not have been as excited about being cut off from their electronic world, but it was relaxing for me to watch them do other things like build a roaring campfire.
For most people, handling stress can be challenging. One of the biggest stresses in life revolves around financial matters. A recent article in ThinkAdvisor ranked the 12 Worst U.S. Cities for Financial Stress. I found some of the cities to be obvious, like Detroit, and others to be less obvious, like Columbus, GA. The article outlines multiple factors that were involved in the ranking from household income median debt per earnings. These financial issues are in most of our communities, so many of us worry about them daily. Why do some people cope with these issues well and others much worse?
You have to find your strategy to cope with any stresses, especially the financial stresses of life. Here are some strategies to help you cope with financial stress:
Seek Professional Help: Don’t be afraid to talk to a financial advisor about your situation. Sometimes just talking about your financial stress can provide relief. We’ve actually designed our office with this idea in mind. Instead of conference tables, we have set up a comfortable “living room” design to promote conversation.
Design a Financial Plan: Develop a realistic financial plan to reach your goals, whether it’s paying off debts, saving for emergencies, or investing for the future. Having a plan can provide a sense of direction and accomplishment.
Control what you can: Concentrate on the aspects of your financial plan that you have control over. While you may not be able to control what financial markets do in a given year, you are able to control your contributions to accounts and how you spend your hard-earned dollars. These are two major factors in the plan.
Identify stress triggers: Identify the specific factors causing your financial stress. If it’s excessive debt, insufficient income or unexpected expenses, understand the trigger and address it directly.
May need a “Dave Ramsey” approach: Dave Ramsey has some basic financial steps that allow people to handle money in a less stressful way. He says that sometimes you have an income problem, so you need to explore opportunities to boost your income, such as taking on a second job. You need to have an emergency fund that way small, unexpected expenses don’t become overly financially stressful. You also need to attack your debt strategically.
Ultimately, financial stress is a common issue, and you are not alone. It may take time to improve your situation but know that professionals exist to help you remove financial stresses by having a proactive plan. Our Purpose-Built Planning approach can help you create a financial approach to your life that minimizes the stresses that come from wandering through your financial life with no direction.