“Debt is my biggest source of money stress. I owe so much money that it keeps me awake at night.” Jide – Architect. “I stress about money because I haven’t got any!” Omowunmi – Receptionist.
What aspect of your finances stresses you the most?
Try and identify what it is about your financial life that stresses you the most and then take deliberate steps to do something about it. Is it your debt that is out of control, are you having trouble paying your bills or is the rising cost of education or rent causing much concern? Are there more frequent arguments with your spouse over finances?
By taking definite steps each day towards your goal, you will reduce your stress. If it is debt related, then your priority should be to focus on repaying the most expensive debt first. As always your plan should not be vague or you won’t have the sense of purpose you need to achieve it. It should be as precise as possible; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and very importantly, time-bound.
Bills, bills and more bills
Bills always seem to arrive at the wrong time. To eliminate the stress of bills, make an effort to settle them as they come in. Are you still paying bills the old-fashioned way? Nowadays there is no excuse for dealing with your most routine bills manually. Several banks offer an online payment system where you can settle your bills without having to issue cheques or carry cash and some service providers have made it more convenient for you to pay your bills through some bank websites.
All you have to do is to activate your internet banking facility, log on to the banks website and set up automatic payments online so that your bills are settled electronically. This frees up valuable time each month and ensures that your bills are always paid promptly and without the stress of being cut off if you forget or are out of town. Be sure to maintain a cushion in your account so that you always have enough to fund the bill payments as they come in.
Money and relationships
A leading cause of stress in relationships is money; indeed research shows that a major cause of divorce is money. Many couples snipe about bills, frivolous spending and bad investments. Often money matters are not discussed and are left to fester on the back burner until there is a problem. Try to talk about money on a regular basis without blame and in a non-threatening and constructive way. If you are in a relationship, there is so much to talk about that will create common ground for building a financial plan together; this ranges from spending patterns, bills, debt, income, the children’s education, a comfortable retirement, the care of elderly parents, a travel budget and so on.