Whether you’re struck by economic hardship, suddenly lose your job or hit with increased expenses, having anxiety around money is not uncommon. Typically, it’s not so much the lack of money that causes you to have anxiety, but the lack of control that comes with sudden unexpected changes. In this article, I would like to share some helpful tips on how to deal with money-related fear so that you can maintain sanity and well-being throughout the crisis.
What causes money stress?
I studied money psychology at the Money Coaching Institute last year. One thing I learned was that it’s not the money itself, but our relationship to it that causes problems. You can have a hundred thousand dollars or more in your bank and still worry about money. Alternatively, one can also feel pretty relaxed and confident with less than five hundred dollars in one’s checking account.
So, what really causes the stress and anxiety? It is your habits, both earning and spending. A sudden change in the environment can easily spin you out of control and balance. You either stress about not having enough money when you actually do. Or you chose to avoid thinking about money or even looking at your online banking account to avoid getting disappointed. You try to convince yourself that things will get better and focus your thoughts on something else.
First, reality check.
You need to know and be aware of all your available resources. That means to look into your account balances, savings, retirement money, any type of government support you may be eligible for. Think of any person or organization you can reach out to and ask for support. This may take courage at first, but you will be very grateful you did it. At the very least, it will give you a clear idea of how much money you have and what you can count on.
You may realize that you have more than what you thought, or you may be shocked to find out that it’s a lot less than what you expected. However, getting that clarity will put you in a position to make sound decisions and give you a sense of control around what to do next. That can be very empowering.
Second, budget wisely.
A sudden job loss may require you to cut on certain expenses and, perhaps, modify your lifestyle a bit. That doesn’t mean you have to freeze all your spending, saying no to buying anything whether it is luxury or necessity. Unfortunately, when most people are faced with fear around money, they act irrationally. They stop spending for a while and completely freeze, believing that can somehow give them control back.
What ends up happening instead, is they eventually lose control as a result of frustration and resentment. Ironically, they often end up spending money recklessly on something they don’t even end up using. Then they feel guilty about it and bounce back to hoarding. I am not saying cut all off your expenses. What I recommend is creating a temporary budget that can sustain you for the next few months, while giving yourself an extra cushion for what makes you happy. But be careful not to overspend that cushion until you can afford it.
Now that you have a clear picture of your finances and resources, it’s time to make a plan. Remember, it may not feel like it, but this crisis we are in right now is temporary. None of us knows how long it’s going to last, but it will definitely end. What would you like to be doing when all of this is over? How do you envision your ideal job or career when all of this pandemic madness is over? What can you create now that will prepare you or get you closer to your goal? Finally, what additional resources do you need to support you in this?
Social media posts:
- Stress and anxiety around money rarely comes from lack of money, it comes from uncertainty and lack of control.
- Just because you have to pay your bills, doesn’t mean you have to forget about your dream job for the rest of your career.
Katherine Bouglai is a career transition coach and the founder of Blossom Career. She works with professionals in technology who have recently lost their jobs and are looking for successful career transition. Her specialties include career change, resume development, job search strategies, job interview preparations, offer negotiations and other related skills.