For a country that’s developed broad access to wealth and financial advice, there’s still plenty of anxiety surrounding money. In fact, about 77% of Americans are anxious about their personal finances, and a concerning 42% struggle with mental health challenges as a result.1,2
It’s not hard to tell why adults are more anxious than ever about their financial well-being. Nearly every American could feel the economic turmoil of 2022. Not only did high inflation increase prices at the grocery store and gas stations, but it also impacted the stock market.
As you continue working toward your goals, financial anxiety can sometimes get in the way. Here are a few ways to navigate those fears moving forward.
It’s Okay to Be Overwhelmed
Money is complicated! That’s why you have people and resources to help you along your wealth journey.
It’s tempting to get caught in the back-and-forth of “I’ll do it when I feel better” and “I’ll feel better when I do it.” But this is an unproductive and vicious cycle that you can break.
For starters, knowing what you have in terms of your finances can help you do something productive with it. Resist the urge to simply stick your paycheck in a savings account and forget about it. Building a plan and giving your money purpose instead is a compelling play.
Everyone has to start somewhere; you can’t expect perfection right out of the gate. Work towards making small but purposeful changes to your financial life, and your situation will likely improve over time. It’s worth the extra effort to reach your goals.
Remember, money is a tool that helps you achieve your purpose while giving you peace of mind that you can meet your obligations. The thought of not having enough money or not using it the “right” way is a commonly shared worry.
But working with a financial partner is an effective way to get in front of your worries and move your financial standings in a forward-focused direction. The more (and earlier) you start saving, the easier it becomes, thanks to the power of compounding interest.
The hardest part about financial wellness is often getting started.
Will Money Ever Be “Enough?”
Wanting more, more, and more is human nature, especially regarding money. But chasing bigger paychecks or higher returns can actually leave you feeling more anxious.
Rather than chase after the idea of having more, define what “enough” means to you. Is it a number saved for retirement? Buying a second home? College tuition paid for a child or grandchild?
By changing your mindset from scarcity to abundance, you’re refocusing your efforts on using what you have to its fullest potential.
Dig Deep, Consider Where This Anxiety Is Coming From
Is your anxiety really from managing your finances? Or could it be something more? Work with your financial professional to dig deep and find the root cause, as it may stem from one of the following areas.
Feeling Pressured to Maintain Momentum?
You might be worried about not being able to maintain the pace you’re currently working at, or you’re concerned a sudden job loss or pay cut will throw you off course.
Feeling trapped in your financial situation is tough, but there is a way out and a way for you to get your control back— you just have to believe in yourself first. Your mental health and well-being are so much more important than any job. At the end of the day, a job is temporary.
Struggling to Walk Away?
As a high-earner, you tend to feel dependent on this income level. Are you worried you may be unable to leave your position at work? An anxious brain loves to jump to the worst-case scenario. But the likelihood of you losing everything is low. However, this could indicate that lifestyle creep is knocking on your door.
It may be time to consider some lifestyle changes, like a more rigorous saving strategy and less impulsive spending.
Is Information Overload Causing Your Stress?
There may be certain sources causing the majority of your stress. For example, the stock market moves up and down every day, and watching this volatility play out in real time could definitely add to your anxiety.
Try conducting a digital cleanse. Delete trading apps from your phone, unsubscribe from that newsletter or podcast, and unfollow anyone who perpetuates negativity that affects you.
Easing Your Anxiety with Logic and Reasoning
Sometimes the best thing you can do to combat anxious thoughts is to stop them in their tracks. How? By calling their bluff. To do this, you need a comprehensive understanding of your options, including investments, retirement savings, insurance coverage, etc. Knowledge is power, and seeing your financial life set out in front of you is an effective way to combat that fear of the unknown.
As you continue making decisions about your money, remember that most things are fixable! We are all prone to making mistakes. But what’s important is learning from them and moving forward. The earlier you start saving and planning, the more time you have to come back from these (often inevitable) setbacks.
Another way to overcome money mistakes is to plan for the unexpected. That’s why you build an emergency fund that contains three to six months’ worth of living expenses. This could be a crucial lifeline in the event of an unexpected job loss or emergency.
Overcoming Your Anxieties with a Financial Partner
You have people here to help you, meaning you don’t have to navigate financial uncertainty on your own. Financial advisors are experts in their field, so it’s not realistic to expect to successfully manage your finances at the same level alone. Instead, let an advisor help take some stress off your plate.
To help prioritize your time and goals for financial planning, I recommend checking out the Urgency/Important Matrix. This is an effective tool for giving your stressors greater context while learning to address each obstacle one at a time.
As you continue making sense of your financial standings and goal setting, don’t hesitate to reach out. I specialize in helping high-earning tech employees make the most of their complex compensation packages while working toward financial independence.
177% of Americans are anxious about their financial situation—here’s how to take control
242% of U.S. adults say that money negatively impacts their mental health