Many adults experience stress around money matters. In fact, one recent study showed that 53 percent of Millennials have cried within the last year due to financial woes[1]. Data from the American Psychological Association (APA), collected in late 2022, has also shown many Americans report increasing financial stress over the past year[2].

Although some may feel their finances are fine, the prevailing sentiment among many is that the combination of student loans, credit card debt, mortgage and rent payments, and car payments are proving to be acute stressors, especially in a period of inflation and economic volatility. Although money can be a common stressor, there are ways to help lessen the emotional burden that comes from financial challenges.

The Financial Challenge to our Wellness

Financial hurdles can impact your mindset significantly. In the United States, a staggering 90 percent of respondents to one survey said they’re experiencing finance-related stress. Inflation has diminished consumer purchasing power, and stock market volatility has people worried about their investments and retirement planning. Real wages, despite experiencing an increase in several sectors in 2022, haven't risen enough to keep pace with economic conditions[3].

The uncertain financial forecast can create worries for savers, spenders, and those paying off debt; however, there are ways to handle financial fears, such as, mindset changes versus money moves.

Managing Stress while Tackling Debt

Debt is one of the biggest reasons for money-related stress. This is particularly true for people who can only afford to make small payments, or for whom paying down debt is a years-long process. Student loan debt is particularly challenging for many people who, years after getting their diplomas, are still paying down what they borrowed. Even people with less debt can still feel the financial pain that comes with paying off a balance and interest.

There are several ways you can manage the stress that comes with tackling money issues. The first step is thoroughly understanding your situation. Next, consider your support network: you can reach out for support from a financial professional or accountant to help you create a workable budget and payment plan. Last, be sure to celebrate the little wins. Paying off debt is a monumental task; it can be hard to acknowledge incremental progress.

No matter how much debt you may have, it's important to put it into context. A steady hand can help: work on a plan that helps you pay down debt effectively and stick to it. A financial professional can help walk you through your options. It's often better to confront fears like this and to have a plan to resolve them. Mindfulness goes a long way here as you work your way through financial challenges.

Money Mindfulness that can Lessen Stress

It's important to have a financial plan in place, not only to help you better tackle debts and spending but to also lessen your stress by virtue of having a plan in place. Knowing what your tactics are can help provide peace of mind —even if you're still in the middle of paying down debts or are just starting to build an emergency savings account.

The more you're able to think long-term about your money, the better positioned you are to focus on your net worth. You'll be less stressed about day-to-day living if you're able to put a plan in place that handles your usual expenses. If you can plan for long-term savings goals, you can minimize your daily stress as well.

Mindful Money Habits

Money can be a major stressor in many of our lives. Balancing a budget, paying off debt, and saving for the future are three goals that may feel at odds with one another. The truth is that you can balance all three with confidence so long as you have the right plan in place. Taking a measured, mindful approach to saving, spending, and investing can help you take comfort in knowing you have a plan in place to handle your financial present and future. Talking to a banking professional can help put you on the right path — and maybe put your mind at ease as well.