Understanding Financial Stress: Its Effects and How to Overcome It
Financial stress is arguably one of the most prevalent and enduring types of stress that adults experience on a daily basis, not just in Nigeria, but across the world.
Imagine you have bills to pay, like rent, school fees, electricity bill and internet subscription. You also might also be owing a loan company or a friend that bailed you out when you needed money urgently. Now, let’s say your income is not enough to comfortably cover all these expenses and debts. That’s when financial stress creeps in.
Managing money has been especially difficult over the past couple of years due to the relentless barrage of financial constraints. The 2020 global pandemic, economic recession and high inflation levels are top on the list.
In this blog post, we’ll explore what financial stress is, delve into the major effects it can have on people, and actionable steps to overcoming it.
What is Financial Stress?
In simple terms, financial stress is the feeling of not having enough money to cover your basic needs and financial obligations. It’s that emotional and mental strain that occurs when you’re struggling to make ends meet.
Effects of Financial Stress
Financial stress isn’t just a mental burden; it can affect your health, relationships, and overall well-being. Let’s take a closer look at its negative effect on people.
1. Anxiety and Worry: Financial stress often leads to anxiety and worry. You might constantly fret about how to pay your bills, meet your rent or mortgage, or handle unexpected expenses. This anxiety can affect your overall well-being, leading to sleepless nights and even impacting your physical health.
2. Strained Relationships: Money woes can strain relationships with loved ones. Arguments about financial matters can become a frequent occurrence, leading to tension and conflicts within families and among friends. This added stress can further exacerbate your financial worries.
3. Inability to Plan for the Future: When you’re consumed by financial stress, it’s challenging to think about the future, let alone plan for it. You might put off important financial goals like saving for retirement, buying a home, or investing in your children’s education. This delay can hinder your long-term financial security.
How to Overcome Financial Stress
Now that we understand the detrimental effects of financial stress, it’s crucial to take proactive steps to conquer it. Here’s a roadmap to help you regain control of your finances:
1. Identify the Source
Start by pinpointing the specific financial challenges causing you stress. Is it high-interest debt, mounting bills, or unexpected expenses? Knowing where the stress is coming from is the first step towards addressing it.
2. Create a Financial Plan
Develop a money roadmap that outlines your income, expenses, and financial goals. Prioritize your needs over wants and eliminate unnecessary expenses. A budget can help you stay on track and ensure your money is working for you, not against you.
3. Build an Emergency Fund
To shield yourself from unexpected expenses, start building an emergency fund. Use savings or consider investment apps like Optimus by Afrinvest to gradually set money aside. Having a financial safety net can provide peace of mind when life throws you a curveball.
4. Increase Your Income
Explore opportunities to boost your income. This could involve taking on a side hustle, freelancing, or investing in your skills to enhance your earning potential. The extra income can help alleviate financial stress and accelerate your path to financial security.
Financial stress may be challenging, but it is not insurmountable. By taking deliberate steps to address its root causes and seeking support when needed, you can work towards stability and and pave the way for a brighter financial future.