5 tips to tame financial stress

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A recent report* by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed 72% of adults feel stressed about money at least some of the time, and 22% said the amount of stress they experienced was extreme.

Below are 5 simple steps you can take to reduce or eliminate some of the financial stress in your life.

  1. Stop and assess

Look at your situation objectively and create a snapshot of your current financial condition. List your financial obligations. For debts, include the principal due, the applicable interest rate and the minimum payment amount. Review your bank account and credit card statements to track where your money is going. The goal here is not to solve the problem, it’s to determine and document the scope of the problem.

  1. Talk to your partner

It’s important to communicate with your partner, as you both need to be on the same financial page. The APA study* found 31% of spouses and partners say money is a major source of conflict or tension in their relationship. Also, your partner can be a valuable source of emotional support, and this can lower stress levels. If you’re single, family or friends may fill this role.

  1. Take control

Even small changes can make a difference, and exerting control over your situation to any degree can help reduce your overall stress level. Start building a cash reserve, or emergency fund by saving a little each paycheck. Just knowing the emergency fund is there will help reduce your ongoing level of stress. Create a budget where you prioritize your expenses, set spending goals, and stick to them going forward.

  1. Think long term

Pay more toward balances with the highest interest rates or consider refinancing or consolidation options. Start thinking about your long-term financial goals, prioritize those goals, calculate how much you might need to reach them, and implement a plan to get there. Having a plan in place can reduce both current and future stress levels.

  1. Get help

You don’t need to handle this alone. If the emotional support of a spouse, friends or family isn’t enough, or the level of stress you’re feeling is too much, there is help available. Consider talking to your primary-care physician, a mental health professional, or an employee assistance resource. A financial professional can also be a valuable resource in helping you work through some of the steps discussed here, and can help direct you to other resources of assistance, like credit or debt counseling services.

*Source: American Psychological Association, “Stress in America: Paying with Our Health,” February 4, 2015. 

 Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2016.

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