surviving financial anxiety

Financial Anxiety Crippling You? 10 Ways to Survive The Stress

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Some days are just bad. You try really hard to “stay positive” or “choose joy” or “trust the process” or “God will provide” but that doesn’t pay the bills, does it? Today, I’m backsliding into a scarcity mindset and, for those familiar with it, it fucking sucks. Needless to say, my financial anxiety is high.

I’ve checked my bank account and it is shockingly low, especially considering rent is due in 4 days. My latest paycheck is being held up due to some technical BS beyond my control. I bounced a check to the IRS. I have yet to file my taxes because Block Advisors wants a dump-truck full of money to file. I got a notice from CA State that they want $200/month for back taxes and a new bill from the State of NY for an “adjusted income” correction from my 2013 taxes. I lost $600 to a billing error from Expedia. And I’m regretting spending $115 on my hair (which I did as a birthday gift to myself.) I’m hungry and the gardeners won’t shut the fuck up.

In short, I’ve hit a wall. I’m in tears and feel despondent and defeated.

Apparently, I’m not alone.

According to Northwestern Mutual,

“The large majority of Americans (85%) report feeling financial anxiety today; and it’s getting worse: 36% say their anxiety has gone up in the last three years, versus only 14% who say it’s gone down. More than a quarter of Americans (28%) worry about their finances every day.”

So, in a pitiful attempt to cheer myself up, I’m going to list some of the things I’m doing to dig myself out of this seemingly perpetual financial bullshit.

Top 10 Ways The Lady Beats Financial Anxiety

PAYING OFF DEBT: It was this time last year when I got serious about paying off debt. In the past year, I’ve paid off two personal loans to friends (~$2,000),  a lease termination fee ($1,500), and one tax debt ($800.) I’m also 4 months away ($3,500 from dumping $30,000 debt from a previous foreclosure.

NEGOTIATING or REDUCING DEBT: For me, this is different than paying off debt mentioned above. For example, I negotiated the $30,000 debt owed down to $18,000 (a 40% savings.) I also re-filed some old taxes to help reduce my tax debt. The actual figures aren’t in, but I’m hoping for a $15,000 reduction on that debt. Oh, I don’t use credit cards (and haven’t in forever) so I can’t increase my debt that way.

auto loan interest rates

INCREASING MY ASSETS: A year ago, I was taking busses to my new job. Today, I took a little extra time washing my cute little Prius. I also am paying on two life insurance policies. (I consider these assets.) I pay my own healthcare. I own some furniture and two cats.

INVESTING IN MY FUTURE: A year ago, I literally was homeless. I had no home, no car, no job. Now, I have 6 savings accounts (Emergency, tax withholding, college savings for my daughter, travel fund, retirement, and general.) I also have a 10-year goal with 5 associated objectives to build tactics from. I have a vision and an evolving plan. I am supporting my child, paying for healthcare, extracurricular activities, and am saving for her college.

GETTING HELP: I also have a financial advisor. She’s very cool and I value her advice. However, all of my accomplishments are mine alone. She’s a great resource and I know I could call her crying and she’d stop her day to support me. I have also spent a good chunk of time learning more about financial management. I’m still a beginner but I’m open to new thoughts and approaches.

EXPLORING CREATIVE AVENUES: I’ve started this blog and hope to eventually gain revenue from it. I’m learning about affiliate marketing, paid advertising, SEO, etc. I’m in the process of building an online writing portfolio page so I can attract more freelance jobs. I’m pitching a proposal for a second published book. I need to try driving for Uber.

friends

BEING A BETTER FRIEND: I know this doesn’t seem like an item that would fall into a conversation about financial management but, for me, my financial failures can be tied to the times in my life that I felt isolated and depressed. By talking to my friends more frequently, by helping them through their own issues, I feel better and more positive about my life. This is essential to me in feeling confident enough to keep fighting the good fight.

USING MY PASSIONS: I love writing. It’s a passion that not only acts as my professional career but my personal catharsis. I often say that “I think with my fingers” and it’s true. Letting my fingers fly, and forcing my brain to slow down enough for them to keep up, is soothing. In fact, I already feel better than I did when I started this post.

STAYING GRATEFUL and POSITIVE: Today, I fell off the proverbial wagon, yes. But overall, I’m thriving due to a positive mindset. By trusting in myself and the Universe, the past year has provided me abundance. Truly. I’m looking around now and am grateful for all I have. It’s not perfect but I’m proud that I’ve started over more times in the last 5 years than most people do in a lifetime.

happy place

VISITING MY HAPPY PLACE: Now, I won’t tell you what this is (it’s a secret) but when I get like this, I have a few places to escape to in my imagination that calms me. They are both warm, comforting, and blissful. And lucky for me, they are both real places that I can physically visit. And I did just that last week.

OK. I feel better. I’ll go transfer some money into my checking account now. (Something I never thought I’d ever be able to do!) I’ll also try to trust that I can replenish that ding to my savings quickly and easily.

How do you stop the vortex of negativity? What are some techniques to avoid the scarcity mindset? Do you have a secret way to handle financial anxiety? 

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