Are Americans overly stressed about their finances during the pandemic?
Unsurprisingly, yes they are, states a recent survey from the National Endowment for Financial Education.
According to NEFE, 88% of Americans say COVID-19 “is causing stress on their personal finances.”
Additionally, 54% of Americans say real financial stress is not having enough cash saved in the household till, while 48% of financial consumers say they’re worried about their ability to pay bills.
The NEFE survey also finds that 39 percent of employed Americans say “stress over job security” is among their top financial concerns.
So yes, people are fairly freaking out over their personal finances in a major health crisis – that’s apparent. The question now is this – what do we about it and how can we calm down about money worries in a pandemic?
Dr. Alok Trivedi, a human behavior and performance expert and author of the book ‘Chasing Success’, offers some much-needed guidance so any American worried about money can, as he says, “feel better and change your situation and your perspective.”
Here’s what he has to say, in nine succinct tips:
Stop focusing on Lambos, mansions, and yachts: You’ve probably seen the Facebook ads or heard the gurus who tell you to have big dreams of the fancy sports car or a big house. Unfortunately, all this does is leave us feeling depressed focusing on the things we don’t have and may never acquire. You can dream as big as you want, but know how to separate fantasy from reality. The abundance mentality is fake because the brain and science don’t work on abundance.
Play your own game: When financial stress kicks in, it’s easy to start looking at those around you and comparing their financial situations to yours. Don’t do this because all it’s going to do is make you envious of other people when in reality, you have no idea of what someone else’s situation is. Just because people look like they have their act together doesn’t mean they really do, and this is especially true with money.
Have an outlet: Financial stress can take a devastating toll on the body and our physical health. That’s why, like with any form of stress, it’s imperative to have an outlet to reduce that stress. It can be exercise, meditation, talking about it, engaging in activities that occupy your mind so you’re not always thinking about money or whatever it is that brings you solace.
Make a plan: One of the best ways to relieve financial stress is to make a plan to do something about your finances. If you aren’t where you need to be financially and you’re always short on money, what steps can you take to change your financial picture? Sitting around isn’t an option. Finding ways to minimize expenses and maximize profits is the only answer. Even if it takes you a little time to get this right, just working toward perfecting this can help you feel better.
Focus on manageable financial goals: If you are $50,000 in debt, trying to figure out how to pay off that entire $50,000 is going to leave you feeling pretty miserable and deflated. Instead, break it down into more manageable figures, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe it’s $5,000 or $10,000 increments at a time, for example. Same with earning. If you only make $40,000 a year, telling yourself that you will become a millionaire next year is probably unrealistic and will make things worse.
Avoid making rash decisions: When stress gets the best of us and gets us emotionally worked up, it’s easy to make quick decisions about spending, saving, and debt management without giving things much thought. The problem is, when we don’t think, we usually make irresponsible decisions. Next time you are faced with an important financial decision, make sure you are in the right frame of mind, and don’t let your stress allow you to make irrational decisions.
Deal with it quickly and effectively: Financial stress will lead to all kinds of mental and physical health problems. The best advice: deal with it quickly and effectively. Stress doesn’t just disappear by itself. In fact, it will get worse if not dealt with overtime. Deal with the problem head-on, find solutions, and focus on things that relieve your stress, improve your health, and make you feel good.
Use negative thinking to your advantage: Many of us are easily consumed by negative thinking when it comes to money. Instead of letting it get the best of you, use it to your advantage to motivate you into action. Use it to make sure you stay risk-averse and manage your losses so you don’t lose out on a financial future that will make you secure.
Bet on the only white horse - you: The only person you should depend on is you. Hold yourself accountable for your own financial results. That doesn’t mean you can’t seek the input of others along the way; and in fact, you should reach out to experts who can guide you along the way. In the end, however, it’s up to you and only you.
That’s all good advice from a specialist who tracks the daily success habits of successful people for a living. Give one or all of Dr. Trivedi’s tips a try and see if they help calm your COVID-related worries down.