Worries about money can cause significant levels of stress that affect your quality of life, your relationships, your health, your ability to study and your career. American research shows that money is the prime cause of arguments between couples, with over 30% of arguments being about money. Couples who argue about money are 30% more likely to divorce than those who don’t. For some people, spending money creates a relief from stress and anxiety. The act of spending creates a temporary feeling of elation and hence we talk about ‘retail therapy’. In this way, worries about money can become a vicious circle – increased stress and anxiety leads to higher levels of spending which leads to more financial pressure and in turn higher levels of stress.
Aside from arguments and overspending, other signs of financial stress include feeling as though money issues are out of control, not being able to pay debts on time, making minimum credit card payments, and paying off existing debts by taking on new debts.
If you are under financial stress, the important thing to realise is that your situation is not hopeless. The sooner you acknowledge your financial stress and take action, the easier it will be to rectify.
Reduce financial stress by taking these steps:
- Find out where your money is going by tracking back through your bank and credit card statements to identify areas of overspending
- Set priorities and eliminate spending on non-essential items
- Add up your debts, look at ways to consolidate them into low interest loans, and don’t take on more debt
- Set up an emergency fund with an automatic transfer into a savings account each payday
- Get professional help from budget advisers who can help you with options for managing your debts and setting up a budget.