- Francesca Sacco
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6 Tips for Relieving Financial Stress
Financial stress affects millions of Americans. In fact, 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. Watching your bank account dwindle while the bills pile up can take a hefty toll on all aspects of your life. A study with the American Psychological Association found that 72% of Americans feel stressed about money at least some time and nearly 25% are extremely stressed.
Stress can lead to medical issues, problems in your personal life and marriage and problems at work. Physical symptoms include anxiety, depression, and difficulty sleeping and weight gain/loss.
Don’t let financial stress take over your life! Here are some tips to eliminate financial stress and get your finances in order:
- Deal with the problem head on. If you’re getting calls from debt collectors, work out a payment plan or ask them to stop calling you. You have the right under the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act to write to a debt collector to instruct them to stop contacting you. Stop avoiding that pile of bills on your desk, too. Take time to figure out who you owe and what you owe them.
- Make a budget. Now that you know what you owe, it’s time to create a plan of attack. Start by making a list of expenses (don’t forget to add things like coffee, nail appointments and subscriptions), so you can determine exactly what you are spending and on what. Find little ways to make a difference (eliminate stopping for that morning cup of joe and make one at home). Start small and work your way up. And make sure to stick to your budget!
- Start an emergency fund. Did you find ways to save a few bucks here and there? Great! Start to put that extra cash into an emergency fund. According to a survey by the Federal Reserve, 27% of Americans would need to borrow or sell something to pay for an unexpected expense of $400. 12% of Americans would not be able to cover it. Regardless of the size of your emergency fund, every little bit helps.
- Talk about it. Find a trusted friend or a licensed professional and talk about your experiences. Most people are afraid to talk about money, but getting it out in the open with someone who can see your situation more objectively can be a tremendous help.
- Be thankful. When you’re dealing with financial problems, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But even when things aren’t going well, there is still a lot that you can be thankful for. Keep a gratitude journal or set aside a few minutes each day to be reflect on the positives. Financial success isn’t an easy journey, but stopping to enjoy the little moments makes all the difference.
- Change what you can. A mortgage payment is unavoidable, but a high mortgage payment can be fixed. If you’re able to refinance, do it. If you can’t, think about downsizing into a smaller, more affordable home. Take the time to go through your expenses and identify areas where you can make changes.
Don’t forget, regardless of the financial stress you’re going through, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It won’t happen overnight, but with hard work and patience, you can eliminate financial stress and improve your financial situation. For more tips and information visit Coping With Financial Stress at www.717cu.com/KOFE. Once you proceed to the KOFE site, select financial publications from the KOFE table drop-down menu. 7 17 has partnered with KOFE (Knowledge of Financial Education) to provide free financial education tools to help support members’ long-term financial health. Resources include publications, videos and more. Plus, you have free access to financial coaches, seven days a week!
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