Financial Anxiety

Early this morning, coffee in hand, I started thinking about money. Not just money, the correlation that often exists between money and depression. The very reason so many people suffer from financial anxiety.

As I sat here over analyzing, as I often do, something became obvious to me. When money and depression are together, they are a deadly combination.

Over the years I’ve struggled to manage anxiety related to finances. Much with no success.

As I’ve said in the past, my husband and I have always had enough. However, each time the military moves us, or a major event comes a long, I start having anxiety. Immediately I have fears of not being able to pay our bills.

Case in Point: Todays Reality

My husband is retiring from the military. I know, you are probably thinking it’s a loss of income. Of course I’m worried.

EXCEPT…that isn’t it at all.

In fact, he already has another job lined up.  He’s currently enrolled in the training program. His official start date is just after the retirement date. Soooo…he is replacing his income right away.

Despite these undisputable facts, I can’t help but be anxious.

According to my (financial) anxiety, this transition is a cause for concern. I know I SHOULDN’T worry, but I do.

Regardless, it got me thinking. A lot of people experience increased anxiety directly related to money issues.

Google Knows Best

After doing what I do best, Google everything, I came up with some answers. While researching, I came across According to the site, many personal finance problems are linked to mental health issues. Illnesses such as migraines, digestive problems, weight loss, anxiety and insomnia to list a few.

Personally, none of those surprised me. What I hadn’t considered was the simple idea of identifying good debt and bad.

Good Vs. Bad

Good debt: mortgage or rent, car payment (needed), college loan, etc. While financially speaking the last two could be argued, for these purposes we can put it in the good category for the simple reason, we all need them.

Bad debt: excessive credit cards, frivolous charging, car rims, car accessories (or motorcycle), travel you can’t afford.

Why decipher between the two?

For many reasons, none of us will ever be 100% out of debt. Understanding some debt is good, is in and of itself a good thing. Buying a house. Getting through college. Those types of debt, while a drag to pay, help us achieve in life.

However, if the debt you carrying is a multitude of gas, store and reward cards, cut those down to one Visa or MasterCard. Excessive amounts of these debts weigh you down and ruin your credit. It takes the wind out of your sail and makes it plain hard to think.

To say the least,  it’s overwhelming.

I’ve been there. I felt like a hamster on a wheel. Too many cards. Too many due dates. I couldn’t keep track of who I paid or when.  The most stressful part, if I was charged a late fee I didn’t know if it was valid. So I started writing it down on the bill. Amount paid and the date.

Mentally, it caused a huge change in mind set. I finally felt I was getting a handle on the bills. I started to understand due dates, what I paid and when.

As I felt better, I did better. 

That small shift in my actions caused a huge shift in mindset. I started to feel I was capable of managing all the debt we’d acquired. We’re still in debt, but at least we have it down to car payments and a credit card (consolidated).

The Silver Lining

Any of the above good/bad debt may make you temporarily happy, eventually you will become more stressed. The reason being, the debt payments far exceed any happiness the item provided. By that time, naturally, we want something else.

Because we cannot predict the future, we never know when our income stream will change. That specifically, is where my anxiety comes from.

The terrible what if? What if my husband’s job falls through? What if we have to make significant changes to our life style? The what if’s can go on and on to infinity.

Living up to The Good Advice

I must admit, I’m good at telling people not to worry about things that may never happen. The issue is, I have a hard time stopping myself, even though I know I shouldn’t catastrophize.

Let’s face it, we are living in unstable economic times.  We often feel, and rightfully so, we can’t get ahead. For the most part it’s true. Therefore, we can only do our very best.

Suffering Health

It is true, individuals buried in financial debt suffer more health related problems. I located a great site related to debt and health issues, Royal College of Psychiatrists.

According to RC Psych financial issues can result from mental health issues. Alternatively, digging ourselves into debt can result in or increase a mental health issue.

For that reason, I hope this blog comes together as one cohesive tool.  Learning to deal with one area, automatically helps you with another.

Over time, we begin to understand how our habits either help or hurt our long term goals.

Whether its anxiety, finance, depression or PTSD, that’s got you down, know there is help. Start where you feel comfortable. Only you know your limits.

If you have a setback, it’s not the end of the world. It may feel like it, but it’s not. I’ve had set backs, but I got back in the saddle and tried again.

Over the years I learned various ways to secure my finances. Some worked, some didn’t.

One easy step to take, keep financial documents. Normally, I keep them for about 4-years.  I’m not talking about monthly statements. Documents which are important to keep include: paying off a car, credit card or home.

If for some reason the company doesn’t report the account paid off, you need these documents to prove you did in fact pay it off.

Retaining the payoff documentation for your car is essential.  It doubles as a lien release letter. Should your car ever get into an accident and be totaled, you need this letter to go with the title.

Call to Action

What type of credit tips do you suggest?

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