MANAGING MONEY PROBLEMS DOESN’T START WITH EARNING MORE.
How many of you are in a state of financial trouble?
I don’t want to know because that is a question for you to tackle possibly signaling time for a financial stress test. If you really want to fix your financial stress it takes more than just earning more money. Let me explain.
If you answered yes to my question you might want to take a bow, raise the curtain on your debt show and start a new chapter. If you can’t make ends meet don’t sit around waiting for collapse get ahead of the game because if you suffer from financial stress now it will only get worse.
Unfortunately not everyone may be able to get ahead especially if living on a fixed income. For those who are and can manage the bills with what they get financial stress looms over them just as much as the next person. If you believe you can’t get ahead because your income doesn’t cover the bills and you’re debt free then something must change.
We can all say no to credit and creating debt we don’t need but we can’t all rush out to get a second job or earn extra money. For those that can the sky really is the limit even if you have to work from home.
I know many people who have slayed financial stress by starting up online ventures on a whim who are now earning 6 figures a month. It is possible….right Michelle? She will tell you yes but with all things related to money, it’s not easy.
I can’t save for retirement
If you are struggling to meet your short-term financial obligations today you are likely putting retirement on the back-burner. Not saving for the future is a huge source of financial stress especially for those on the brink of retirement yet can’t retire.
I know a guy who is still working at the age of 68 earning good money yet he can’t afford to stop. His wife gambles away the money and there are no savings. That’s scary stuff that can beat you down and cause even more problems especially with your health.
What happens is that we become so focused on paying the short-term debts and forget about retirement. I often hear, “I don’t have enough money to save” or “We have too much debt and not enough for retirement” which must sting but it’s wide-spread. You’re not alone/
It’s so easy to get credit these days that it’s viewed as a gold-mine when the going gets tough. It may save you short-term for one situation but cause another. This is the debt cycle so don’t breathe a sigh of relief keep your motor running and find a way to sort it out.
One of the hardest things to do is balance a budget especially when you have too much debt and not enough income. Just about everyone experiences some form of financial stress in their lives which can alter your money path and ultimately relationships.
With interest rates on the rise Canadians are bracing for what could be even more financial stress added to what they may or may not already have.
Canadians now owe $1.67 for every dollar in income they earn, official data show, and the typical borrower now owes more than $22,000 — on top of their mortgage.
More money doesn’t mean less stress
The rich get richer may ring true but many upper-class folks come from financially stressed homes so they know what it’s like. You might find the affluent to be far more frugal then you imagined for this reason. They invest in ventures that will hopefully earn more money where the lower and middle class aim to survive curve balls trying to bat a home run. That doesn’t mean they don’t fail, they do but typically have some form of back-up money.
We are all at risk for financial stress.
Money is simply a means to pay for what we need and don’t need but can or cannot afford in the first place. In other words either you can afford it or you can’t and for those of you who may have went a bit hog-wild with available credit your financial stress levels can cause a host of problems if you don’t target the issues with a financial plan.
The middle class are the back-bone of the economy whether it be through purchases, credit, loans etc. If we all stop spending then how will the economy keep going? This is why we see so many marketing plans and adverts shoved in our faces. Buy local, buy from the mom and pop shops or buy into schemes that will frost you and then melt away.
The middle class become the bench that is offered a cozy cushion made of cheap material. The luxury won’t last forever especially if you crowd your space with too many benches. Clearly, I’m not saying others don’t experiences financial stress but when you have opportunities to spend you can easily become stuck in a financial rut.
Even worse is spending money that is not your own.
There’s a difference between having no debt and no money, lots of money and lots of debt or lots of debt and no money. Either way the spenders who get stuck in the middle are the hardest hit because creditors mark them as easy targets. Students beware you’re on the hit list too when you are given credit opportunities at a young age without a full-time job or credit history.
Credit is NOT your money
It never will be and we all need to remember this especially when it comes to spending and budgeting.
Stop using the excuse that you are using your credit card to make purchases so you can get rewards point if you’re not paying the card off in full. You aren’t earning anything, in fact you are paying more in interest on your card then you are gaining rewards. Where is the financial smarts in this situation?
Most often budgeting gets pushed under the carpet because of;
- Lack of belief in budgets
- No time for budgets
- Don’t know how to budget
When you play with money without utilizing some form of a financial plan you put yourself at risk for elevated financial stress.
What is financial stress?
Financial stress comes in a many forms especially since we all view money from a personal perspective. You might not care as much as the next person about how much money you earn, save or have to pay back where the other person does.
For the most part financial stress comes from;
- having too much debt
- not enough money
The above may include;
- Long-term loans like a mortgage especially when rates go up and they’ve bought more house then they can financially carry.
- Paying off short-term debts like personal loans and credit card loans.
- Education costs
- Retirement portfolios
- Family responsibilities or obligations (senior parents, ill siblings etc.)
- Savings of any kind including emergency savings or investing in the tax-free savings account.
- Paying for basic needs groceries, rent/mortgage, car, insurance, clothing etc.
If that’s not a bubble waiting to pop, I don’t know what is. The message is clear and it’s in our faces. I know many people who thought they were on the right financial path only to find out the opposite. It’s amazing what a budget can do when you have to lay out all of your money stash on the table including what you owe.
I’m certain that simply looking at budget categories for some people who don’t budget would be overwhelming for them. People who don’t manage their money from a dollar for dollar stand-point don’t really know how much is coming in, how much is going out and how much they need to balance the categories that are crucial to their future. Why? Because it’s easier to forget about it or not want to know about it until the time they come face to face with it.
This can give anyone financial stress even though they might pretend they don’t care or don’t know — in the back of their minds, they do. It’s easier to close a door then to open it and step over to the other side especially when there is the unknown or significant risk involved.
Don’t let financial stress frighten you into backing away from budgeting.
Who do we blame for financial stress?
Stop blaming anyone and start your road to financial recovery. Living in the past or worrying about what you can’t control won’t get you ahead. Consumers drown every single day with advertising to spend money without having to leave home
Online shopping has become so wide-spread which adds to the already mounting debt loads that Canadians carry. It’s an addicting habit that can get way out of hand.
If your partner is the source of your financial stress you should face this first before anything else. You can’t attempt to fix financial stress when only person in a relationship is running the ship. It doesn’t work that way and if they still deny involvement the financial stress of the other partner can turn to resent. They may not leave the relationship but they will be miserable about having to deal with it all alone.
- Spending too much money
- Not earning enough money
- Don’t care about family finances or see them as a source of financial stress
Remember, not everyone views financial woes like the next person. When financial stress hits you hard it may be no big deal to your better-half. This can cause major relationship issues which often leads to divorce, control and/or dependency.
How to Manage Financial Stress
You don’t have to live with financial stress forever as long as you get a grip on your money. If saving for retirement is never going to happen at least sort out what you can today which trickles over into tomorrow.
- Ask for financial help if you don’t understand
- Start using a budget- You can download mine for free.
- Take time for yourself- read a book, go to the park and sit under a tree, try yoga, give up bad habits, exercise, eat healthy, smile and enable yourself to freedom. The better you feel, the more you will believe you can overcome anything, even financial stress.
Financial stress will never entirely go away but we can manage it simply by understanding where it comes from. Spend some time on your financial house and you’ll see that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.
“Give your money a job and know where it’s going.” – Rebecca Anderson
Discussion Question: What are some things you’ve done to cut down on your financial stress?
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