According to a study by GoBankingRates, one-third of Americans worry about money all the time. So, I thought it might be helpful to offer some tips to others on how not to worry about money.
I’m definitely a person who worries. I worry about the future, the present, my kids, my dog, my husband, my extended family – all of the above. I don’t really worry about money, though. There are times when I am uneasy about money, like when we have a $1,000 random expense I wasn’t expecting, but at the end of the day I am secure with my finances (despite having a long way to go to get to financial independence.)
Here are some ways that you can free yourself from money worries too.
Get Caught Up
I’ve been working with a close friend of mine who is repairing her credit after ten years of bad money decisions. She has numerous adverse accounts on her credit report and slowly but surely, she is getting current and caught up with all of her bills.
She has settled with several creditors and can now begin the process of improving her credit score over time. I’m really proud of her. It’s not easy to call up collections agencies who have been harassing you and try to calmly work out an agreement. She feels much better and isn’t worrying nearly as much about her financial situation anymore.
Start an Emergency Fund
Once you’re caught up with all of your bills, it’s time to start building an emergency fund. This, above anything else on this list, will make you feel so much better about money.
Many times, our anxiety about money stems from the fact that we worry about what will happen if we have to pay for something really big, like a car repair or home repair. So, even starting out with $500 in an emergency fund, then growing it to $1,000 and beyond will really quell a lot of these common worries.
When you have an emergency fund, you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll be able to go to the grocery if your spouse gets hurt on the job and is out of work. You have back up. Essentially, you’re safe, and that’s just about the best feeling you could ever have.
Track Your Spending
After getting caught up on your bills and starting an emergency fund, track your spending. It’s definitely not easy to do, and I’ve tried and failed many times before. However, it’s a worthwhile endeavor and a great habit to start. Plus, there are many great free tools, like Personal Capital and others, out there now that make tracking your spending easier and less time consuming than ever.
Once you start to track your spending and decide to write down everything you spend, you’ll notice different trends. For example, food is always our biggest downfall. We were actually great with grocery spending in the first few months of the year, but once our kids started eating like they were NFL players, it was game over. Now we just try to be mindful of food spending and cut back on eating out.
Find a Financial Planner
Financial planners aren’t for everyone but this year we took the step to find one who was a good fit for us. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a ton of money to work with a financial planner. (My husband and I work with Matt Becker who specializes in young parents and families in case anyone is interested.)
If you’re looking for a financial planner, my advice is to find one who has a similar belief system and who is fee-only. I’ve known Matt over the years and because we are in similar places in our careers and families, I felt like we would be a great match (and I was right.)
The benefit of finding a financial planner is to transfer some of the worries you might feel regularly to someone else. They can help make some of the biggest decisions and can serve as a tie-breaker if you and your spouse can’t agree on something.
Basically, although it might seem counterintuitive, the best way to stop worrying about money is to pay more attention to it. Get current on your bills. Save an emergency fund. Track your spending. Budget. Hire a financial planner. All of these steps might take you a little while to complete but the end result is a much higher satisfaction with the current state of your finances and much less worry.
Additional resource: If you’re in a similar situation but are held back by debt there are options to pay off that debt quicker. The best option is to consolidate outstanding debt to a lower interest rate. The lower your rate the quicker you become debt-free and start saving more money. One of the best options to consolidate debt is through Lightstream who offers rates as low as 1.74 percent with AutoPay.
Do you worry about money? How often? How do you combat worry? What do you do that’s positive and active to allay your money fears? What are some of your biggest money worries or questions?