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The Emotional Side of Money: Regaining Control and Finding Financial Peace

By: Kenyon Sutton, Financial Wellness Manager

Posted on 6/12/2023 10:27:50 AM

Money has a unique ability to evoke strong emotions within us. Whether it's the rising inflation rates, uncertainty in investments, overwhelming bills, burden of personal and student loans, or other financial situations, money issues can take a toll on our mental well-being. Money issues and stress are often linked to the development of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. However, it's important to remember that you can regain control over your finances and alleviate the emotional burden they carry.

Recognize you aren’t alone

If you find yourself feeling upset, stressed out, or losing sleep over money, rest assured you're not alone. Many people experience financial worries throughout their lives. Recent research conducted by CreditWise revealed a staggering 73% of Americans consider money their number one source of stress. Money issues and stress are also often linked to the development of mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

Various factors contribute to our emotional attachment to money, such as our upbringing, experiences with poverty or wealth, or even past job loss. Despite the challenges we face, it's essential to recognize that we have the power to regain control over our finances and change our overall wellbeing. By taking small steps towards improving our financial situation, we can begin to alleviate the emotional strain associated with money.

Assess your current financial situation and habits

Each of us has our own unique relationship with money. Understanding your financial habits and attitudes can be a powerful first step toward improving your financial well-being. It is important to develop smart money habits after recognizing where you are at. If you don’t have emergency savings, live beyond your means, or impulsively spend, address these habits, and start creating small, realistic money goals to put you on the path to what you want to achieve.

Whether your goals include saving, paying off debt, or creating a personal budget aligned with your future aspirations, we have strategies to help you on your journey. Remember, breaking your goals into smaller, manageable tasks can make them less overwhelming and more achievable.

Take small steps towards a big impact

Enlist the help of a financial counselor who can guide you through the process and assist in planning for your future. Defining your financial goals and putting them down on paper is crucial. By doing so, you create a visual reminder of what you're striving for and develop a clear roadmap to follow. Remember, achieving financial goals is not an overnight endeavor. It does take time and some trial and error to find what works best for you.

By making small adjustments in your daily life—such as eating out less, shopping only for necessities, refinancing loans, or cutting back on unnecessary expenses—you can make a significant impact on your financial well-being in the long run. Small sacrifices today can lead to substantial financial changes tomorrow.

Create a budget (or spending plan) and stick to it

Budgeting is the cornerstone of saving money and gaining control over your financial priorities. It involves breaking down your needs and wants and making conscious choices about how you allocate your resources. Establish a budget that reflects your financial goals and commit to sticking to it. Consider implementing strategies like automatic payments, splitting your direct deposit, or setting up regular transfers to savings accounts, which can help you build up personal savings effortlessly.

Schedule regular financial check-ins

Regularly reviewing your financial progress and holding yourself accountable are essential components of financial management. By incorporating routine check-ins into your schedule, you can stay on track with your plan and boost your confidence in managing your finances. You can do these with your household, or with your banker or financial advisor to make sure you’re still on track. As you practice and become more adept at handling your money, tasks such as reviewing your budget, balancing your checkbook, and paying bills online will become easier and less stressful. Dedicate a specific time each week, even if it's just 30 minutes, to track your finances and make it a consistent part of your life. Once you find that you require less time for these check-ins, you can gradually transition to conducting them every other week.

Seek additional assistance

If you feel overwhelmed, don't hesitate to seek professional assistance for your mental health. Many resources offer free consultations and can provide valuable support. For instance, many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that can support you through difficult times – both emotionally and financially.

At Community First, we have partnered with the industry-leading program BALANCE to provide all members with free financial resources. Talk with certified financial counselors, attend informative webinars, complete personal financial education modules, and take advantage of even more resources to improve your money management skills. Regardless of your current financial situation, there is help available to support you in planning and improving your circumstances. Money is not just a practical matter; it has a profound emotional impact on our lives. By taking proactive steps to manage your finances and improve your overall well-being, you can create a path towards financial stability and reduced stress.

Community First Financial Wellness Program

There are numerous resources available to help you navigate difficult situations. Community First Credit Union is here to support you by providing financial tools. You can empower yourself with our moveUP Financial Wellness Program, from topics like financial caregiving, enhancing your money skills, or start by taking our moveUP Debt Eraser Quiz  today to start your journey toward becoming debt-free.  You have the power to make positive financial decisions that will lead to a more stable financial future.

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