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5 Steps Toward Modernizing Your Financial Statements

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Money -- or more specifically, the lack of it -- is the largest stress trigger out there today.

The American Psychological Association should know -- it's been studying the issue of Americans and stress for years. Its latest study, Stress in America, reports that money is a "top source" of anxiety for U.S. adults, beating out the workplace by 69% to 65%.

It also seems like Americans just can't get out of their own way when it comes to managing money, and worrying about managing money.

From the study:

Americans set financial goals in 2012 -- more than half (52%) said that they planned to save more money, and 37% reported a goal to pay off debt -- yet more than one-quarter said that willpower (27%) or time (26%) were barriers preventing them from making changes.

One proven way to reduce all that stress is to organize your financial records. A squeaky-clean financial house is a house where stress may find it's not welcome, experts say.

"Money stresses people out because it is the vehicle that allows you make important decisions, and if you do not have all the relevant information, those decisions can seem more challenging than they are in reality," says David Benskin, chief executive of Wealth Access, a Nashville, Tenn., wealth management technology services firm.

Unfortunately, Americans don't carry over their world-famous work ethic from the office to the home, and to their personal financial record keeping, Benskin says.

"People tend to work harder to make money than they do to manage and organize their portfolio," he says. "But if you don't understand what you have -- no matter what your net worth -- it is that much more difficult to plan for retirement, send your kids to college, ensure that you have a comprehensive estate plan and generally, take care of the whole range of decisions that people are actually stressed about."

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