Press Pause: Overcoming Financial Overwhelm

Finances are not an easy thing to manage. Sometimes we let them get away from us and we make mistakes. Maybe you are burdened by a student loan payment, crippled by your mortgage, or boiling after some tricky investment calls, no matter what financial trouble you are facing just know that:

*It is alright.*

Everyone has been there and honestly so many people are facing similar struggles, so take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and that you do not have to overcome this hardship alone. Sometimes we get swept away in the business of our day-to-day lives that our financial strategy slips away from our minds until something big happens.

Take a deep breath, hold it for 8-10 seconds, then slowly exhale through your nose. I’m here to give you tips for grappling with your financial overwhelm, and by the end of this post I hope you will feel more relaxed an empowered to take on your finances!

Beyond Black and White

Finances are not straightforward. There are many factors that both add to and detract from our financial earnings including income, investments, insurance, and living expenses.

Embrace the grey streaks in your financial landscape. Find your niche in them. You don’t have to rush out and download 10 new budgeting apps, start 3 different investment strategies, or start selling all of your possessions. Take some time to unwind from the stress that your financial overwhelm is bringing to you.

Acknowledge the presence of the stress, and press pause. Go for a walk around your neighborhood, dance around your living room to your favorite song, share a nice dinner with your spouse, do something that brings you joy and detaches you for a minute from your financial stress.

Taking a day or a weekend to de-stress is wonderful, but pressing pause does not mean tabling something or putting it on the back burner. Your financial wellbeing should not fit into those two categories, so once you have processed and distressed it is time to start taking action!

Evaluate Your Strategy       

Break out your favorite pen and a piece of paper you must have stuffed in a drawer somewhere and write everything down. Write down the apps you downloaded, the strategies you have been using, all of your debt, your monthly payments, your spending habits, your feelings about these habits… everything.

Writing can be cathartic, and it will feel good to at least have a handle on the situation. Once you have laid everything out and you know where the problems lie, then you will be able to start formulating a plan to fix them.

Turn a critical eye to your list. What on there is working for you? What is not working? Do you have a plan to fix the errors? If you tried a budgeting app that has worked really well for some of your friends, but you just can’t seem to customize it to fit your needs, then let it go. Embrace your grey here and know that no two financial situations are exactly alike. What works for someone else may not be the best fit for you.

In addition to evaluating the financial planning tools you are using, it is also good to look at your spending and ask yourself a few questions:

  • Am I spending intentionally?
  • Does my spending optimize my life?
  • Are my spending habits having a positive impact on me and others around me?

Think about these questions and answer them honestly. If your answer is no then embrace that and find a way to make a change.

Set New Goals

A great way to make a change to your financial habits is to set new financial goals. Make your goals reasonable so that you can stick with them and succeed. Setting yourself up for financial success begins with setting goals that align with your values and lifestyle.

Dividing your finances into a manageable strategy is another great way to make a change. One strategy I recommend is the 10/20/30/40 budget.

  • 10% giving
  • 20% saving
  • 30% debt minimizing  
  • 40% the remainder

Think about where your money gets spent and why? If your spending habits have an intention behind them, that will dramatically increase your likelihood to spend your money on the things that matter most to you and cut out any extraneous expenses.  

Follow Through

Sticking to your new methods is the hardest part of developing these new goals. Experts say that it takes 3-4 weeks to build a habit, but it only takes 1 day to break one. All of your hard work deserves to be reflected in your finances in the best way possible. Do this for you.

If you find it difficult on where to start, talk with a financial advisor. They would love to help you take control of your finances and empower you to live the best life that you can.