Can wise money moves help improve your mental health, decrease your stress, and boost your peace of mind? Absolutely.
It’s easy to see why. A lot of stress comes from worrying about the future, as well as problems that might seem small but are stressful in practice (such as getting stuck with a $400 car repair bill because your brakes went out).
How much better would it feel if you could stop stressing about money? How much less anxiety would you experience if your retirement savings were on track? And how much more secure would you feel, knowing that should an emergency arise, you have the resources to handle it?
With that end in mind, here are simple financial moves you can make to help improve your mental health!
Create a financial vision statement. Whether you use a financial professional or do it on your own, creating a financial vision statement is the first step to improving your quality of life with personal finance.
What’s a “vision statement?” It’s a one or two sentence description of where you want your money to take you in the future.
Why does it help your mental health? For starters, it gives you a goal to strive towards, and goals tend to increase mental resilience.¹
It also may help reduce uncertainty and ambiguity about the future. When your financial vision statement is clear and complete, your next actions may become clear and obvious.
But while it may seem simple on paper, it can feel overwhelming in practice. Try this process to help take the stress out of creating your vision statement…
Create a list of things you value. That could be family, adventure, stability, comfort, and more.
Write out what a future full of your values would look like. This gives you a more concrete—and inspiring—vision of your goals.
Describe how money can make your vision a reality. This final piece is your financial vision statement. It’s how much money you’ll need to enjoy the lifestyle you want in the future.
Save up an emergency fund. Juggling a paycheck, credit card bills, student loans and other debt repayment, rent, and groceries is stressful.
Unexpected—and expensive—emergencies can make things even harder.
But being prepared helps! Having an emergency fund means that when something goes wrong, you’ll have cash on hand to help cover it.
In general, aim to save 3-6 months’ worth of income and keep it easily accessible. Then, when an emergency strikes, simply reach into your emergency fund to help cover the costs.
Will it totally eliminate the stress of emergencies? Probably not. But it can mitigate the financial anxiety that can loom over you if you’re not prepared.
Meet with a financial professional. Nothing reduces your stress levels quite like knowing your finances are in good hands. That’s where a licensed and qualified financial professional can help.
They can help you develop strategies for reaching your goals, identify obstacles early on, and refine your financial vision statement.
Plus, having someone you can talk to about money can make your finances far less intimidating and stressful. Find a professional who you’re comfortable with and who’s knowledgeable, and start cultivating your relationship. It may be one of the best investments you make!
If you’re feeling stressed about money, know that you’re not alone. And the good news is that you can do something about it. Try these simple steps, and see how you feel!