I think it is safe to say that one of the top reasons people experience stress is due to money or lack thereof.
Since working in the stress field and in the natural health field since 2000, one of the underlying causes for health issues, quality of life issues, and overall life satisfaction is always in direct correlation to stress levels, with finances being one of the main stressors.
It’s understandable. We need money to take care of all of our basic needs: food, shelter, warmth, health, and in some cases relationships (which can be affected by financial issues or the stress caused from financial issues).
This is the main reason why I think finances can cause so much distress and worry. It’s necessary for survival. However, there is a solution which I will share with you in detail here.
Another way that money or financial issues can cause stress is within the intimate relationships with our partners.
This can stem from many different life circumstances, but it has been blamed for being one of the main reasons for divorce.
In a study using data from over 4,500 couples, it was found that arguments over finances were stronger predictors of divorce than other types of marital disagreements.
This makes it even more important to create a pathway out of the stress/financial/relationships “hurricane” one can find themselves in. Keep reading. I have some very actionable suggestions.
There are two areas we are going to focus on when trying to dig yourself out of financial stress. But first, I’m going to tell you why I am even qualified to talk about this.
I am not a financial advisor or anything like that. I am someone who, with my husband, got into and out of $30,000 of debt.
This was causing stress in our lives and taking away our freedom, as well as putting a strain on our relationship.
However, with a plan, we got out of that debt in 2 years and have been debt-free ever since.
It is not always peaches and cream with finances, but we no longer fight about it or get stressed about money or finances. Here is what has worked for us….
There are two areas to focus on when experiencing a lot of stress due to finances. The first is to focus on the mind and body to reduce the stress you are currently experiencing.
You will never make clear and planned out decisions when you are stressed out of your mind, so step 1 is to reduce your stress.
Sure, easy to say right? Well, I have effective and easy tools you can use right away to begin calming your mind and reducing your stress, so you can powerfully move forward with step 2.
Here are my top ways to reduce stress:
These are my main go-to’s for reducing stress. You can read many more ways to reduce stress here…
I focus on reducing stress as the first step so that when you begin step two, you can have a clearer mind and the patience it takes to succeed at this.
It is very doable, but you need a plan and you need some time.
While I don’t like to air my dirty laundry, I will share my personal example to make it real for you. Here is my 3 step plan to reduce your financial strain.
When we had racked up our $30,000 in debt from a failed business, we realized that paying just the minimum payment was never going to get us out of debt. So we sat down and got real about our situation.
We really sat with it and realized we had eaten out a lot (way too many expensive sushi dinners), bought a lot of inventory that was not selling, and made poor choices based on money coming in the future.
Your personal situation will be unique, but the plan is the same.
Step one is to get real about the current situation. Get all of your bills out, credit card statements, past due letters, whatever it is and get clarity on the current state of things.
This may seem daunting and the exact thing that you have been avoiding, but know that this is the lowest point of the plan.
This is your self imposed rock bottom. But, know that doing it this way actually empowers you. That is how we move on to the next step.
Once you know where you are starting from, you can now move forward with a plan.
We had realized that it would take 70 years to pay off our debt if we continued to only send in the minimum payment. Yes, 70 years.
Since that obviously was not going to work, we began to do some research.
We ended up working with a debt consolidation company (the non-profit, white hat type) who helped us to negotiate and consolidate our 4 credit cards to one payment, a higher payment, but with less interest that would get us out of debt in 3 years.
Here is what our plan ended up looking like:
With this plan, we were able to get out of debt in less than 2 years. We had to make some sacrifices and it was hard at times, but the current freedom and lightness we have financially is worth every minute of effort we gave to the plan.
I think there are a couple of things that are necessary for this plan to work. You must be committed and take it on as a challenge or project.
Once we started seeing the large dent we were making in our debt every month, we got more and more motivated. It became a sport for us.
The day when we sent in our last payment and the debt consolidation company called to congratulate us was like no other. VICTORY!
Since your situation is unique, your plan will look different than ours, but the the premise is the same. Make a plan.
There is one last thing I would like to point out. We got help. Don’t be afraid to get help. This is our 3rd step.
When we were starting at Step 1 of our “get out of debt” plan, we had help from two sources.
The first was the debt consolidation company and the second was from watching Suzi Orman on TV every single day.
We began to learn more about finances, financial health, and how to be smart with our money. This made a big difference for us. It kept us motivated and we learned a lot in the process.
Having a virtual coach (Suzi) really kept us on track and reminded me why we were working so hard to get our financial situation to a healthy and sustainable one.
I understand that your situation may be completely different. Maybe your job is unfulfilling but you can’t make a career change due to finances, or maybe you have a lot of insurance bills,or you’ve had a hard time finding good work and your finances are higher than what you bring in.
No matter the circumstance, if you are finding yourself under a lot of stress due to finances, the plan I have outlined will work. It is worth it.
The peace of mind that comes along with an actionable plan is priceless. I would love to hear how your plan ends up working out for you.