While work, sleep deprivation, family and overscheduling all contribute to the rising incidence of stress today, studies show that money tops the list for Canadians. Mounting debt, juggling accounts and worry about meeting monthly expenses all add to money worries that rob you of peace of mind, says David Christianson, a Certified Financial Planner® professional with Christianson Wealth Advisors in Winnipeg.
“Concerns about reaching future goals, overspending, the different spending and saving styles of you and your spouse, and peer pressure from friends can pile on to sabotage your feeling of calm,” David says. “This in turn can lead to sleepless nights, preoccupation at work, marital strain and ultimately even more stress.”
With forethought and a helping hand, your inner money monster can be brought under control. David outlines four steps to finding peace of mind and confidence about your financial future:
1. Define the problem:
Make a list of specific sources of financial stress to determine the true causes. For example, having eight bills to pay and not enough money to cover them in the short term is pretty specific. Concern about retirement and investments is more about uncertainty in the longer term. Writing down these issues will help clarify the priority of each item you need to tackle and will give you a head start on getting organized for when you meet with a financial planner.
2. Get organized:
Work to understand your financial obligations and resources by developing a statement of assets and liabilities.
Assets include a house, vehicle, savings and investments.
Liabilities include credit card debt, mortgage and loans.
Getting a picture of where you stand financially will help relieve the stress that can often come from the unknown.
3. Create a budget:
It’s an oft-quoted piece of advice because it works. A household budget will give you a clear picture of where the money goes each month and where adjustments might need to be made. Don’t forget to include small everyday expenses as well as annual payments like home/vehicle insurance and property taxes. Your budget should be updated when your salary, debts or other aspects of your financial situation change.
4. Get help:
A CFP professional can help you find financial calm by working with you on these steps and putting the pieces of your financial puzzle together. They can suggest strategies to help you pay down your debt, fund your child’s education, plan for retirement, and reach your other financial goals. Talking to a professional financial planner about what keeps you up at night can go a long way toward relieving some of the pressure and getting to a solution that fits with your budget and lifestyle goals.
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For other ways to reduce financial stress and take control of your finances, read 5 tips to fight anxiety about money, Is financial stress putting your health at risk? Honesty may be the cure and Financial planning can help anyone at any life stage.