How do I stop stressing about money?

What if I were to tell you that all your money concerns can be washed away by doing this one single thing?

Is it too good to be true?

Well… IT IS!

I’m sorry, I know this is something most people likely don’t ever want to hear but, if ANYONE is offering you a one size “fixes” all, BE SKEPTICAL!!

There is calculated risk that us investors use when trading stocks but trust me, we all KNOW it’s a gamble. It’s a calculated risk with only a percentage of our portfolios that we know we can comfortably risk. We’re not doing this with our rent money.

So HOW do you manage the emotions AND the logistics when it comes to money?

What is a money anxiety disorder?

If you Google “money anxiety disorder” you’ll get this definition: “A condition of constant worry and unease about money.”

My mother would get frantic during phases where our family would go through financial struggle. This anxiety inevitably transferred over to me. I remember being 19, having no debt with the exception of student loans and thinking all debt is bad and evil…. I forced myself to live off instant noodles so I could make $600/month installments to my student loans. Thankfully, the federal loans were paid. THEN there’s the provincial loans… that was something else altogether.

The truth is, I go toe to toe with depression and anxiety every, single, day.

It’s not a choice and, before anyone comes in here and tells me yet again that “depression is only a symptom, it’ll go away if you do, X, Y, and Z” let me stop you right there. I watched my mother struggle for years with money anxiety disorder and it’s not a simple “choice” as with things mental health related. There are multiple things that come into play.

What causes money anxiety?

Common habits I see for people who have money anxiety:

  • Lie about their spending with their partner
  • Guilt trip themselves over a purchase they made for themselves that was “outside of their budget”
  • Unable to stop thinking about their finances 
  • Taking anger out on others because they themselves don’t feel financially stable
  • Feeling shameful for their debt 
  • Maxing out their credit cards monthly 

The common theme is your relationship with money at the end of the day.

You can learn all the best practices, investment tips, but you will never create wealth, especially not generational wealth if your relationship with money is fractured or broken.

Here’s the thing that most people won’t tell you, though… we ALL start off that way. Money is a relationship. And just like any relationship, your relationship with money is something you’ll have to work at to build. I work with my students to build that bestie relationship with their money because despite what you may think, it IS foundational.

What steps can I take to stop stressing?

Start by acknowledging what’s there.

I can only speak from my own experience and the experience of my students. In no way am I saying take these examples as gospel. If you struggle with anxiety and feel like you’d want extra help, please do seek out help or reach out to me and I can refer you to my support network (I have a team of people who help me with my mental health and be happy to share the resources).

But here are a few ways to reduce your money stress.

  1. Acknowledge the situation (the good, the bad, and the ugly)
  2. Write EVERYTHING down (your bills, your income, anything that is stressing you out financially)
  3. Prioritize (number from #1-#10 or however many items you have on the list)
  4. Now pick your top 2 and cross out the rest (or put them on a separate list) 
  5. NOW create your plan to tackle those top 2
  6. Make sure to include milestones (lead or lag indicators) 
  7. Set SMART Goals
  8. Use your calendar or get an accountability partner 
  9. Forgive yourself for any feelings of guilt or overwhelm (you’re human) 
  10. Now execute your plan

This simplified 10 step helps to address both the emotional side and the logistical side. If you’re like me, your stress likely reduces AFTER you see tangible results happening.

Ending money stress.

Money stresses may seem hard to tackle but oftentimes they’re deeply rooted in our relationship with money from a young age. Which means it’s something that’s outside of our control. However, being able to approach it from a guilt free perspective creates a space/judgement free zone and allows us to handle the logistics to move beyond the situation we’re in.

It takes practice, and ultimately, it takes self acceptance to stop stressing about money.

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