At one point in time in our lifetime, we have all been worried about our finances. We have been faced with financial challenges that freaked us out. There is nothing abnormal with panicking about your finances especially when they are not in the position that you need them to be.
Money conversations are not easy topics for a lot of people and this is understandable. The anxiety that many have when the topic centers on money can be crippling; the reason they stay away from it.
The panic attacks that people have about money, therefore, necessitate its discussion albeit it is a difficult one to have. This is because one cannot continue to shy away from the topic given that it adversely affects the general mood of humans.
It has become necessary for people to understand the importance of having control over money, so its presence or absence- which is usually not permanent does not have a lasting negative toll on humans.
A lot of people have had their mental health all messed up because of money issues. A lot of us have lost sleep and battled insomnia because we had our minds racing for solutions to challenges that have to do with our finances.
Sometimes, they may start as casual thoughts about paying bills to worries of possible job loss, piling debts, and how to fit your monthly expenses into your income.
While stressing the fact that this should not be taken with levity, the American Psychological Association reveals that about 60% of Americans confirm that money was the highest contributing factor to their stress level in the year 2019.
The effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economic realities of global citizens has also undoubtedly affected peoples’ finances and increased the rate at which they are worried over the same. The massive job loss and pay cuts that a lot of people were faced with came suddenly and are capable of throwing them into depression.
Fortunately, you are in a position to control the thoughts and actions that affect your finance. Only if you are ready to take the bull by the horn and be in charge. That way, you handle the money, and not the other way around.
How to tell that you are freaking out about your finances
1. You begin to obsess over ‘what-ifs’
It is fine if you try to predict the future and plan accordingly. But it becomes a red flag if you are always envisioning a negative outcome of your situation. You try to convince yourself that you are preparing for the worst, so as not to be caught unawares, but in the real sense, you seem to be expecting bad news.
This can also be a result of over-exposure to negative news commentaries in the media. They have a way of affecting your thought process. Continual pessimism about your finance may be a sign that you are freaking out.
2. You are always involved in money fights.
It is not surprising to note that a lot of divorce cases over decades are money-related. Couples that are having trouble with their finances tend to lose it easily. It becomes more difficult to be romantic and empathetic to your significant other while going through rough financial times.
If you are constantly worried about money, your marriage or relationship may suffer as you tend to transfer aggression and have your emotions fly overboard. This may be damaging to the relationship.
Like the general saying, “a hungry man (in this context, one with money issues) is an angry man”. Are you the angry one in your relationship?
3. You are guilty of financial infidelity.
This is another sign that you need to look out for. There is a probability that you are always involved in fights with your partner over money-related issues and you always shy away from admitting your wrongs or even having the conversations entirely.
If you always have to hide important details about your finance from your spouse, especially when you both run a joint account/business, then you are losing grip of your finances gradually.
If money conversations always lead to a fight in your relationship, then someone is guilty of financial infidelity. And yes, it should be taken seriously and addressed.
4. You worry too much.
When faced with financial challenges, it is absolutely normal to be worried and strategize on the way out. But when you spend valuable time worrying than working a way out, then it becomes a challenge.
Even if it doesn’t seem so, the moment those around you notice that you look worried and confront you, it is best not to live in denial. You may not notice that you are worried, while they can see it clearly. Open up to them (if you trust them enough), or seek professional help.
5. Your mental and physical health deteriorate.
Today, we see a lot of millennials and GenZ around us battling anxiety at its peak and depression over money issues. Some are already neck-deep in debt so early in life.
From trying to offset their students’ loans, to getting a job while schooling and trying to set up a business or two, the stress level of so many young folks are alarming. To worsen the situation, some don’t take their health seriously.
All these are telling on the body in the form of sleeping disorders, migraines, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases among others.
The fact that a lot of them cannot afford proper healthcare to cure the ailments caused by money problems makes it a vicious circle.
How to be less freaked out about your finances
Now that we know some of those signs that may show that you are freaking out over your finances, what then are the proffered solutions? The following tips will help you handle your finances better;
1. Understand that you are not alone
Before you allow your financial realities to freak you out, you need to understand that you are not alone in that situation. You are probably one of the billions of people facing the same challenge across the world. So, be calm about yourself.
A recent study by Thrive Global reveals that about 90% of Americans confess that money is capable of inducing stress.
So, whenever you are about to freak out over money-related issues, remind yourself that you are not alone. There are several people in similar shoes as you are. Some have found solutions to their problems. If they can, you can too.
2. Focus on the positive
Yes, optimism will not automatically pay your bills through magic, but it helps you see and access the situation more clearly. When you dwell too much on the negatives, it may be difficult for you to identify a way out of your predicament even if it lies before you.
Focusing on the positives helps you to tame your fears as well as recognize and appreciate your strengths instead of being continually pessimistic.
When you are calmer, it is easier for ideas that you need to re-strategize and find the needed solution to flow through your mind. A mind in crisis cannot think clearly.
3. Revamp your budget
It is possible that you are stressed financially because your budget is not properly doing the job that it ought to. This why it is always advisable to review your budgets at intervals.
When you take your time to objectively review your budget, you may discover a feature or more in it that is financially harmful to you.
Take the example of someone that was struggling with his/her finance, got a better paying job/promotion and decided to increase his/her expense immediately from the first paycheck. There is no denying the fact that such an individual will continue to face the same problem because of such a poor budgeting approach.
4. Get rid of financial shame
We all have made one financial mistake or the other. Stop being excessively hard and unforgiven to yourself over past financial errors. Rather, see it as a learning point.
When you constantly feel bad over wrong financial decisions made in the past, it may affect your sense of judgement in the present and make you freak out unnecessarily. This is capable of making you be continually anxious and leading to future mismanagement of resources.
Instead of feeling embarrassed about your past errors, take time to learn what to do so as not to repeat previous mistakes. Talk to professionals, and be intentional about organizing your finances.
5. Seek professional help
Some people make the mistake of thinking that professional financial advisors are only for the rich. This is not true. Their services are available to all that are interested. When you meet with them, it becomes easier to figure out the best financial approach/strategy for you.
Talking to a financial advisor is like seeing a therapist- but in this case, for your money. Their job is to shed light on every dark corner of your finance. They advise you on investments, preparing for retirement as well as walking you through your short-term and long-term goals and aspirations.
6. Stop comparing yourself
Young people especially are guilty of this. You must always remember that comparison is the thief of joy.
Especially in this age of social media, where random people flaunt ‘wealth’ online, some people ignorantly feed on those content and get carried away. Do not be part of them.
When you constantly compare yourself with a follower on Instagram that you believe is doing better than you are, anxiety sets in and you start to freak out. You don’t know, that individual may be acting a script.
The funny truth is, you may be doing better than that person you envy in real life. But you have ignorantly placed an unnecessary burden on yourself because you want to be like them.
7. Educate yourself
“Knowledge”, they say, “is power”. As a result, one of the best ways to stop yourself from freaking out unnecessarily over your finance is to arm yourself with financial literacy. This will prevent you from fearing what you don’t understand.
When it comes to financing, there is nothing glamorous about ignorance. It puts you at the disadvantage of trends.
Stay abreast with news and trends in your industry, attend conferences or events where you stand to learn something worthwhile, take up courses that relate to money management, talk to professionals etc. all these and more can brush up your knowledge and help you beat anxiety.
8. Talk to your partner
Another tip to help stop you from freaking out over your finances is for you to talk to your partner- spouse or business partner. Two good heads are better than one.
When you talk with them, they may give you the reassurance that you need to overcome the anxious feeling that you are battling. They may also be able to see the possibilities that you cannot see and point you in the direction of the same.
In a situation where the bills are becoming too much for you, they may offer to relieve you of some by picking up some of the bills to pay.
It is generally easier to manage your finances if you have an agreed financial plan with your partner. This is way better than everyone doing their solo financial management.
9. Do not be carefree
While it is great not to freak out over your finances, it is deadly when you throw all caution to the wind.
Just as we stated earlier in this article, there is nothing wrong with being worried about your finances. It only becomes a source of concern when it is uncontrollable and begins to negatively affect your entire existence.
It does not mean that you should become careless, and live your life like tomorrow doesn’t exist. When you retain some caution, it helps you take your aspirations seriously and work towards them. The thought of the future can also prompt you to set your priorities straight and act right.