"Even if you are financially responsible, an unexpected expense or event can be all that is required to put you in financial need, especially if you are unwilling to deal with it," says Dr. Zlatin Ivanov, certified psychiatric director who specializes in addiction psychiatry.
Yes, money stress can feel like a lonely experience. In 2015, 72 percent of Americans said they felt stressed about money – and we can only imagine how the current global pandemic is putting more strain on our mental health. So let's talk about it. Out of solidarity.
For some, shame and avoidance can be a bigger problem than the reality of their financial situation.
"Money and shame are closely related," says psychotherapist Haley Neidich, LCSW, creator of an online therapy platform called your therapist. "Often people develop fear of finance [because] they avoid looking at their money […] although worry and fear often cause us not to look at our finances fully or to have every penny [about].
If you are, it may be time to take two steps back in your ritual before you even open a bill. Getting your finances in order is intimidating enough. So let's make sure your mind is ready first.
"By learning to deal with financial stress and dealing with your financial situation, you can feel better in control of your life and reduce your life's stress and build a safer future," says Dr. Ivanov.
"Working hard with yourself will not solve the financial stress," says Neidich.
And Dr. Ivanov agrees. "Research has shown that self-compassion, in contrast to self-esteem, was a key factor for individuals to motivate themselves through pain, failure, and feelings of inadequacy," he says.
So before you crack numbers, do something nice for yourself first. Dr. Ivanov suggests:
- to set hard limits on when to start and finish work
- practice deep breathing, meditation and religious belief
- talk to someone for emotional support
- listen to soothing music
- take a hot bath or soak in a hot tub
- distract yourself from the source of your stress by doing something creative, such as drawing, singing, dancing, gardening, or journaling
. Neidich recommends starting with finance with an explanation. "I now admit that my finances are a mess. I feel _______ and yet I still choose love. I'm going to start working on it now. I take control. "
" Most people avoid logging into their bank accounts or opening bank statements because they are paralyzed with fear, "she explains. "For people who want to improve their situation, avoidance only brings more suffering."
When or when feelings arise, Neidich encourages individuals to "grab your diary and write it down".
You can also keep track of these emotions in a diary. A weekly look at these explanations as you review your finances can help “get emotions out of the process and look at them in a very practical way,” she says.
"Make it a habit to be 1
If you don't have a budget, you're not alone. The reality is that most young adults between the ages of 23 and 38 don't have one. While it may seem scary, you can start creating one within minutes.
Whether you're using pen and paper, personal finance software, a simple spreadsheet, or an app like Mint (recommended by Neidich), make your budget easy. Write down your paycheck, your monthly responsibilities (bills), and your debts. From there, Dr. says Ivanov: "Take small steps and take a break … if you have noted down some numbers, don't panic!"
If you choose an app or service, you will find one that can be easily set A good example is services that send email notifications when individuals exceed the amount they spend.
KonMari & # 39; d your life? You can do the same with money. Although it is more difficult to deal with money, Dr. Ivanov too.
But the concept is similar: only you will know what is important and what is of value to you (and what is not).
Dr. Ivanov recommends asking yourself:
- Which purchases are important * and which are not
- Which non-essential expenses, also known as “invisible expenses”, can be reduced (cable TV, an unused gym membership, fees for additional ones Data in one cell) phone plan)
- if you can set up automatic bill payments to avoid late fees
* Think about what will help your mental health in the long term. Researchers have found that people with debt are three times more likely to have mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse. Therapy or gifts to yourself may be necessary to get you through the day. Don't let other people define what is a necessity.
"Regardless of the method used, debt repayment reduces the number of monthly transactions and simplifies your finances," explains Dr. Ivanov.
To begin paying off debts, Dr. Ivanov, there are two common strategies:
- Debt Avalanche Method. With this approach, individuals use the leftover money – after paying bills and other expenses every month – to pay off the highest interest rate debt first.
- Debt Snowball Method. Here, individuals use their remaining monthly income to settle the least debt first, regardless of the interest rate. For example, a credit card or a student loan with the least amount to be paid.
One way to reduce the stress of checking your finances is to do it every day. "I had customers who checked their account balance every day for 30 days in order to shock themselves out of avoiding it," says Neidich.
While this is a method – one that is not essential – a more frequent review can help raise awareness and allow individuals to make "data-based changes" to how they manage their money, she notes.
"One of the practices that I have clients who are worried about money and have debt turned into is a practice of gratitude for their debt," says Neidich.
The goal is what arises from activities such as training, buying a home, or starting a business. It's about focusing on what the money brought you instead of looking at it as a deficit. This can help address negative feelings about money, she adds.
Dr. Ivanov recommends asking lenders if 0 percent loans or late fee exemptions are available and seeking government and local authority support, especially for those affected by job or income losses related to the Covid 19 pandemic are.
- Consolidate (bringing credit card debt, car payments, home loan debt, etc. into a monthly payment. This makes it easier to manage money. "There are factors that must be considered beyond simplifying your finances, such as: B. Interest rates, term of the loan, recourse, etc. ", says Dr. Ivanov.
- Combine insurance policies. " Just as having multiple accounts with several banks can complicate your finances, insurance policies can be taken out by different companies lead to unnecessary financial burdens, "explains Dr. Ivanov." If you bundle all your insurance policies with the same company, you may be able to save money and simplify your financial life. "
- Consolidate your pension accounts. For those with multiple pension accounts from different past / present employers merging into one account can help streamline things, says Dr. Ivanov.
Both Dr. Ivanov and Neidich warn against making rash decisions about their own finances – especially when it comes to feelings of fear.
"In a state of fear or fear, absolutely no financial purchases or decisions should be made," says Neidich. "If you are afraid or unsure, this is a sign that something is wrong."
Dr. Ivanov recommends trying the relaxation techniques to keep calm, while Neidich suggests waiting 24 hours before acting, and both recommend implementing ideas from trusted friends who can provide support and feedback.
If you're looking for help to mentally prepare for your finances, and if you're managing your budget, a psychiatrist can provide the support you need to get started, says Dr. Ivanov.
"Consult a financial planner for more complex financial support and debt and credit management," he said.
As a journalist with 15 years of experience, Mary Kearl's work has been published internationally by Forbes, HuffPost, Business Insider, Popular Science, AOL and SheKnows. Follow her on Twitter .