It is common to worry about money and finances. After all, money affects your quality of life, where you live, and what you can buy. When you are under constant financial strain and worry this can leadto stress, loss of sleep and even health problems. When you recognize your fears, you can take proactive steps to find solutions which can increasefinancial stability and address the fears that can plague your success.
Here are five common financial fears and how you can overcome them.
Fear #1: Not Earning Enough to Cover All Your Needs
We live in a society which stresses consumption. The message is that happy people own this and smart people buy that. Regardless of your current financial circumstances, you may feel your life would be better if you earned more. The truth is that you spend to what you earn and just earning more is not enough. Millionaires file bankruptcy and top level executives can carry massive debt. More income will not always provide more financial security.
Steps to Take: To address this fear, do the following three things. First, reduce the social pressure to increase consumption. Turn off the ads and stop comparing your life to your neighbors or co-workers. A Toyota will get you to your job as efficiently as a BMW. When you make comparisons, you tend to look at your neighbor's strengths compared with your weaknesses, which always leaves you feeling inadequate and wanting more.
Second, be grateful for what you have. Taking stock of what's right with your life will reduce the need to increase consumption. As you assess needs versus wants, you can rank those needs and funnel money to your highest priorities. Putting things in the proper perspective will make reaching your i goals easier:. You may have the desire to be debt free, or take a year off to travel the world? Do you want a comfortable retirement and the ability to quit working with enough money to play golf in retirement? When you have a clear vision of where you want to be, you are more likely to make the sacrifices necessary for success.
Third, only focus on one or two things at once. Pick your top priority and build a plan that breaks the goal down into small, manageable, and measurable steps. Then start today. When you try to do too many things too fast, you can become frustrated and quit before seeing results.
Fear #2: A Financial Emergency Will Result in A Financial Collapse
When it comes to financial emergencies, it is not “if” but “when.” They come out of the blue and can quickly snowball into a financial crisis. For example, your car breaks down, which can lead to missing work and a reduction in pay. You must find resources for a rental, repairs, and maybe a new car leading to more financial problems because everything snowballed. Preparing for the inevitable emergencies can reduce stress and leave you with reserves to cover the costs.
Steps to Take: Automatically set money aside in an emergency fund. The most obvious way to protect yourself is to have money in savings. Start with a few dollars a week, so you do not turn around and take it back out to pay bills. Make it hard to get to and leave it alone.
Insurance is another way to protect finances, including coverage for your home, vehicle, and health. Insurance reduces out of pocket costs when a major event occurs unexpectedly. Savings should cover small, unexpected expenses. Insurance can create a safety net.
Fear #3: Never Be Able to Retire
With unprecedented debt, volatile investment markets, and interrupted work histories, of Americans are nearing retirement with no light at the end of the tunnel. You realize that you did not save enough or have too much debt. You are living it. You might live to 90 but are uncertain how to pay for retirement without working until you die. You do not want to be a burden to your family, but your health may not allow you to work forever. This paradox creates stress and anxiety for many nearing retirement.
Steps to Take: Even though you may never save a million dollars like many experts suggest you need, you can start today and set aside a little each month, increasing contributions over time. Doing something reduces stress and increases balances. Talk with a tax accountant or financial advisor to determine your true needs and options for investing. Create a plan that accounts for your specific circumstances rather than general recommendations.
There are many moving parts in retirement. Debt increases financial needs, where good health and working longer can reduce the amount required for a comfortable life. You may not have 30 years left, and you may not be able to dedicate 20 percent of your income to “catch up.” But you can reduce costs and increase deposits consistently.
Know what you need. Start with the social security calculator for income and then find ways to reduce monthly costs. The less you need to live on, the less you need in retirement. If you pay off debt, downsize your home, or eliminate a vehicle, it will leave room for more savings now and lower outlays in retirement, enabling you to retire sooner.
Fear #4: Failed Preparation Will Lead to Unmanageable Student Loan Debt for Your Children
College costs are skyrocketing at a time when a college degree is essential for the most stable employment. Not only do many workers get an initial degree, but ongoing training and additional education as careers progress. Over 70% of college graduates leave school with student loans.
Steps to Take: Do not set aside money for college at the expense of retirement because you cannot borrow your way through retirement like you can college. After you are on track for your own retirement you are in a better position to help children with college expenses, if desired.
Use tax-advantaged accounts like a 529, if you want to start a college fund for a child or grandchild. Other ways to save on school include living at home, attending in-state schools, and beginning at a community college. Students should also seek free money through scholarships and grants, reducing the need for student loans.
Fear #5: Never Becoming Debt Free
Living with debt during working years feels inevitable. Between mortgages, car payments, student loans and credit cards, it may feel like you will spend the rest of your life paying for yesterday's purchases. However, establishing a plan and getting professional help can lead to a debt free life. The lower your debt levels, the less you need to live comfortably in retirement.
Steps to take: Stop adding debt to your balance sheet. Debt elimination starts with money management. To reduce the debt you must live below your means and to maintain a debt-free life you must live within your means.
Make financial changes you can permanently integrate. Debt reduction plans that function as a crash diet fail, just like crash diets don’t produce long term results.
You can conquer your money fears by understanding what events and activities trigger those fears and addressing them with proactive behaviors.
If you are burdened with high amounts of credit card debt and are struggling to make your payments, or you’re just not seeing your balances go down, call Timberline Financial today for a FREE financial analysis. Our team of highly skilled professionals will evaluate your current situation to see if you may qualify for one of our debt relief programs. You don’t have to struggle with high interest credit card debt any longer. Call (855) 250-8329 or get in touch with us by sending a message through our website.