Racing heartbeat, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, irritability, feeling of impending doom. If you are someone who experiences anxiety on the regular, this list might sound familiar.
As a young professional who is amid her own quarter-life crisis, I can relate to general anxiety. But as YP's in the nonprofit field, we all experience our own anxiety around money.
There is no quick solution.
Finding your money triggers, or what exacerbates your money anxiety, is actually pretty easy.
1. Identify Money Triggers
Take a hard look at your past. How did prominent adults in your life (parents, grand-parents, rich uncles) handle money?
Growing up, I had parents who were openly stressed out about money. I was extremely aware of close calls with the water department. At one point, my mother lost our childhood home, as she was unable to make ends meet.
Perhaps this sounds really similar to your story. Perhaps you grew up quite sheltered from the troubles of adulthood and money. Or somewhere in-between. I recommend dedicating some time to some soul-searching.
If you're stuck, think about a recent argument you got into with a significant other. Or a time when you were really upset with yourself.
2. Dig Deep in those financial woes
This is the not-as-easy part.
Now that you've found some sources of your money stress, it's time to dig deep and make a plan.
If you are partnered and having money talks, include them in this self-discovery and planning session.
My big money trigger is unpaid bills. When I get a bill - I have to pay it. Not on the due date, but as soon as I can possibly pay it. This realization did appear in an obvious way. I wasn't connecting the obvious signs of anxiety with the events happening.
Recently, my partner received an unexpected bill from a utilities company. My reaction was very immediate. I didn't notice the clear signs of anxiety as the bill sat on the counter, unpaid. This resulted in a very long money talk. We learned that we have different money styles, which stem from having opposite money triggers.
My money trigger: worrying bills won't be paid. Impact: I pay bills as I receive them, before their due date.
My partner's money trigger: worrying there isn't enough cash for emergencies. Impact: he pays bills when they are due.
3. Profit?? (Kind of?!)
I'm a big believer in systems and automation to make our lives happier, healthier, and easier. Equipped with the new knowledge of our money triggers, and how they impact one another, I made a plan to handle my money anxiety.
I have all my bills set to auto-pay. This includes credit cards with balances, student loans, and utilities. I fought against autopay methods for years, but have found it to be mentally freeing.
I am fortunate that right now, my anxiety about not being able to pay my bills is unfounded. But that's the kicker with anxiety, it isn't rooted in logic and reality.
If you're like my partner who stresses if there will be enough cash, make an emergency fund a goal. If you're like most Americans, you don't have an emergency fund. Bankrate.com found that only 4 in 10 Americans could afford a $500 emergency. There are a lot of tools online to help you create budgets and save away an emergency fund.
What about you? What are your money triggers? What solutions have you found that help curb or manage the anxiety?
Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your stories and learn about what's working for you!
About this post's author:
Kara Whaley serves on the board of YNPN Cleveland. She also sits on a YNPN national think-tank working to improve membership processes. Kara writes about what she loves - personal finance, data analysis, CRMs systems, Gmail, and sociology. In her spare time, you can find Kara searching for first edition Harry Potter books at a local bookstore.
Image credit: Freeimages.com/José A. Warletta.