Financial Anxiety — It's a Thing
This isn’t the first time you’ve heard it, according to a 2016 survey conducted by Southern Cross, Kiwis rank money as #1 stress in their lives.
Mid-2017 my financial anxiety hit an all-time high after purchasing my second property. Feeling overwhelmed I went into a major money meltdown and the people around me unfortunately wore the brunt of it.
But looking back now, I had no idea about what was happening to me. To give you some examples, this is what I went through (remember everyone is different but these are my own experiences).
We’ve all done and seen this before. My denial started with: “I’ll get back on my feet, once I make more money in the future.”
I often hear colleagues and friends talking about their struggles with money. I hear a lot of the same conversations, “I can just put this *insert unexpected expense here* on credit and I’ll pay it back next month” or “I can’t afford to save when my rent is half of my weekly salary”— (I hear ya Aucklanders).
The Lesson: The truth is, your salary isn’t going to increase and if it does, you will spend that new disposable income — refer to my first article: The Money Myth That Trips Everyone Up
Almost every day I woke up and regretted the decision, that just like that I had spent all my hard earned savings.The self-doubt that engulfed my mind and body was anxiety and in this case, financially related. The silly thing is, my purchase was something not to regret. I purchased an asset, which will be a future cash cow but my present-self was making excuses. Instead of getting over this fear, I spent hours of my day generating unnecessary stress.
The Lesson: Keep having conversations with yourself about goals- I reminded myself of my own long-term financial goals and the purpose of taking on another investment. This enabled me to set my mindset up for my next monetary goal.
This happened. $5 pizzas became a regular and if you know me well, you’d know this isn’t who I am. Over analysing every single purchase is not a healthy thing to do. I was so consumed with price and money, I was no longer present when eating out with family and friends.
The Lesson: Find balance when budgeting - I’m not saying go wild and swipe, swipe, swipe but there's a fine line between obsessive and normal.
I locked myself away. I’ve always been a social person and boy do I enjoy a nice meal out. My financial anxiety meant I isolated myself from the things that I enjoyed doing most. I couldn’t see the answers that were right in front of me.
The Lesson: Isolating myself from everything that was ‘costly’ didn’t help myself in any way, which reflected in (my social life) and in my happiness.
Enough was enough, something needed to happen. One small change at a time and I forced myself back into my old habits. I started with my tried and trusted method of paying myself a weekly allowance. Considering my new house purchase, I revisited my budget and reconfigured my weekly allowance. Being able to recognise that I needed to get through this roadblock was the first step. As a result of making a few changes, my savings were quickly back on the up (not quite as quickly as before but getting there). Finally! I steered my way out of this rut.
If you find yourself in a rut, whether it be financial, personal or work-related, re-evaluate what’s going on and what has changed in your life. Allocate some personal time and I can guarantee you will see that there is a way out, no matter how small it may seem.
For more on financial anxiety, hold tight. I’m currently looking into the interesting relationship between money and mental health. Have you ever heard of a Financial Therapist? Neither, but hey no surprises here it’s proving popular.
- The relationship between mental health and money is one that we all need to consider
- If you're in a rut, take some time to consider what's changed in your life
- Take those changes and be proactive, one small change at at time
- If it's money that's getting you down, have a look at Paper & Sweat's Spending Template here
- Don't feel ashamed to talk to someone, Financial Stress is more common than you think