Financial stress is a common issue in America, even before the pandemic – a 2016 study found that 85% of Americans are anxious about their finances, and money woes is the second leading cause of divorce in the country as well. Most people know that stress isn’t great for our bodies; it can cause cardiovascular disease, ulcers, and other health problems, so alleviating stress is an important area of focus for all of us. But on this episode of How To Money, Matt and Joel also take a look at how we can use our money stress to our advantage. A healthy amount of stress can be a great motivator for us to save, invest, pay off debt, and reach other major money goals in our lives.
Longtime listeners of the podcast know that Matt and Joel’s approach to personal finance advice is often to just help us reframe how we think about money. That’s the case with this episode, as well, as they offer ways to think differently about our stressors. For example, if we’re trying to save up for a down payment on a house or pay for a vacation, it’s stressful to constantly berate yourself for small purchases or for using a credit card too much. Instead, reward yourself (and reduce stress) with a different mindset: “I didn’t use the credit card this month. That means I can put an extra $200 in the down payment fund!”
It’s also important to be tracking your spending and earning and keeping up with your budget. Sometimes, even folks who are in a great place financially can have money woes because they just aren’t clear about where they’re at. But even if you know for sure you’re in a bad spot, it’s impossible to take steps to fix your situation if you don’t know where your problem areas are. Make sure there’s time set aside each week or each month to revisit your budget, credit score, and financial goals and track your progress. Make a list of small goals so you can cross things off as you accomplish them. Never be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s from a friend, a financial counselor, or a licensed therapist. And most importantly, don’t give up! You can reach your financial goals. Just be realistic about the time it’ll take, and be kind to yourself. Get all this great advice about using stress to progress on this episode of How To Money.
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