Coping With Financial Stress
We’ve all felt it – that gut-punch feeling toward the end of the month as your rent or mortgage payment, utilities, and credit card payment due dates approach. For some, it’s a sinking feeling that goes away soon after making the payment. For others, it can feel like sickening dread, as the bills start to stack up. And still others feel the pinch, but it’s followed by a blooming sense of pride as car or home-ownership inches ever closer with each payment made. Which of these situations feels most familiar to you? Is there anything that can be done to relieve that stress? How else do money and mental health relate?
For many, it can boil down to a feeling of a lack of control over finances or expenses. It may lead to feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy, fueling conflict in relationships and causing you to act out of fear. So how can we achieve a sense of control when everything feels overwhelming?
If you are feeling overwhelmed in any area of your life, we recommend meeting with a professional. Especially if you’re considering any kind of major change, this can be helpful, as experts can offer advice that is tailored and customized to your situation. It is widely understood that financial insecurity can cause or exacerbate mental health issues. If you are not feeling yourself, are experiencing a crisis, have emotional pain, have thoughts of suicide, or know someone who needs help, mental health services are available to all Canadians seeking support.
Track Your Expenses
Although it can feel intimidating, tracking your expenses is an empowering place to begin taking action to regain control of your finances. Without understanding where your money goes each week or each month, it can be difficult to get a feel for the actual needs and obligations in your life. Making a budget after tracking your expenses means that your budget will more accurately reflect your real expenses, rather than your goals or idealized expenses. This results in a tool that will be helpful and useful, rather than one that may lead to feelings of shame if or when there’s a gap between your spending and what you believe you should be spending. Whether you record every expense as soon as it’s made, or download one of many available apps to do the job, getting in the habit of tracking your finances can pay off over time.
Set Reasonable Goals
What are you working toward? Perhaps you wish to own a home someday, be debt-free, or save up for a vacation with your family. Whatever your vision is, having a goal can be a huge source of motivation. Creating SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals can significantly increase your likelihood of achieving what you desire. You can learn more about SMART goals here.
Tracking your expenses and setting SMART goals are two hugely empowering steps toward increasing financial stability and wealth over time. And, as is true when facing all kinds of challenges, lifestyle changes, and growth, having support contributes to your chance of success over the long term. This may take the form of having an accountability partner, whether it’s a friend, spouse, or coworker, who you can count on to offer encouragement. It could be a counselor, therapist, or mentor who you can reach out to with updates on your progress or go to for advice on particular issues.
If your goal is to own a home, why not reach out to a mortgage specialist? Even if you face issues such as enormous debt, bruised credit, self employment, temporary unemployment, consulting with a professional in the industry and requesting advice on actionable steps to move closer to attaining your goals goes a long way. Experts are available to provide education and support in your financial journey.
You Have Power
If you’re feeling beaten down by money worries, you are not alone. Even though these feelings are often accompanied by guilt or shame, knowing that there are actions you can take can help. These stresses affect all ages, income levels and races in many different life situations. Tracking your expenses by using a basic budget, setting attainable goals that motivate you, and seeking support can set you up for success.
If home-ownership is among your goals and you don’t know where to start, you’re struggling with credit issues and enormous debt, I can help. My name is Cherryl Small, and I’m a licensed Mortgage Agent with Matrix Mortgage Global (Lic#11108). I welcome a conversation and can be reached at 416-578-4187, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by filling out the contact form on my website https://www.mortgagesbycherryl.ca/contact-us/.