Know Risk is a community education program designed by the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) to improve our understanding of insurance and how it relates to managing the many risks we all face in life.
Tips on How to Cope with Money Worries
Money worries are often cited as the greatest cause of stress for people. Indeed, recent studies have found that one in seven people say they are “very stressed” about their finances. This means that at some point in your life, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself worrying about a lack of funds.
You might be facing money problems for any number of reasons, such as job loss, a reduction in income or increased debt. Or, as is the case with many people, you’re doing OK now but are worried about the future and your retirement.
Feeling stressed and anxious about your financial situation can have a significant effect on your health and well-being. Thankfully, there are things you can do help you cope.
Most people with money problems believe they’ll be able to get through them and refuse to take calls from creditors or their banks. Most financial institutions have what is known as a ‘financial hardship’ service and will work with you to find a way to repay your loans without losing your property. This could range from a short-term repayment agreement to a longer-term strategy that puts a hold on your repayments until you get back on your feet.
Talk to someone you trust
Many of us feel that we’re the only ones dealing with money problems and put on a brave face for those closest to us. Too often we feel embarrassed or even ashamed to talk about our financial problems. Turning to a family member or friend you feel comfortable talking can help you come to terms with your situation and give you a sense of perspective. Letting others know you’re doing it tough can help ease the burden, particularly regarding family celebrations or Christmas.
Plan your way out
The stress of money worries can be crippling and while it may be a difficult thing to do, taking the time to go through your finances in detail will help you identify which areas are causing you the most financial stress. Spend the time to sift through you expenses and plan a budget you feel you’ll be able to realistically stick to. While this may cause a bit of anxiety at the time, writing things out and making a plan can actually reduce stress levels.
Focus on your loved ones
It’s so easy to let your financial stress become all-consuming and often leads to arguments between partners. Switch off the TV or computer and take the time to listen and talk to each other. Try planning enjoyable things to do with your partner and focus on getting through the tough times together. You’ll be surprised by how this can remove the stress in your relationship and life.
Stay as healthy as possible
Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising and getting enough sleep are key to relieving stress in your life. If you're having trouble sleeping, make sure you unwind before going to bed and avoid drinking caffeinated or sugary drinks before bed. Try not to bring your computer, smartphone or tablet to the bedroom.
Renew your sense of perspective
While it may be a difficult thing to do, try using this challenging time as an opportunity to reassess your priorities. Use it to find ways of living well without spending money on things you used to rely on. Maybe you could reduce expenses by spending more time going for walks to the park or down the beach or taking in the sights of your local neighbourhood, or even having a barbecue instead of going out to dinner. For birthdays or other occasions, consider choosing simple gifts or something you could make instead of expensive presents for family and friends or even chip in with others for a gift.