Tackling money anxiety

Money worries are affecting many of us at present.

A rising cost of living and skyrocketing interest rates means many people see money is going out faster than it comes in. Add in worries about the economy in general and job security in particular, not to mention rising debt, and you have the basis for real, nagging anxiety.

Most of us experience anxiety in some form or another in our lives. A short-term feeling in the build up to an exam is one thing, but worry about basic needs – such as heating our home or putting food on the table – is quite another. This kind of long term and inescapable anxiety that can have serious effects on mental and even physical health.

At Continuum, we are looking at ways to deal with financial anxiety.

Face up to the problem

Guilt and a feeling of hopelessness are common for people with financial difficulties, leading to a temptation to sweep all your troubles under the carpet. But facing problems is the only way to deal with them. Being open and honest about your financial woes with family or a trusted advisor is better than trying to tackle them all yourself. The person you talk to may have some practical ideas – and even if they don’t, talking  will help you see what the issues are.

Identify the main issues weighing on your mind. Examples could include a large and growing credit card balance, expenditure outstripping income, a plummeting credit score, looming utility or other bills, a big mortgage commitment.

Try writing these down in a list and giving each one a rating of one to 10, with 10 being the worst. This will give you a clear view of the problems. But more important, it will  let you start building a strategy to deal with them.

Mortgage becoming unmanageable? Talk to your lender. New government initiatives mean lenders will give you 12 months support if you can’t afford your mortgage, but you should contact them without delay. You may be able to remortgage to a deal which gives you longer to repay, or to an interest only deal.

Big credit card balance? You need to stop using your card, and if you can, switch to a zero-interest deal from a new provider. Your credit card debt will stop being swollen by interest, and you should be able to get it heading back down by paying back as much as you can each month.

Big bill looming? If you can dip into savings, you might be advised to – if you can’t, talk to the organisation you owe money to. If you talk to them and explain your position, most will be prepared to offer forbearance, which in practice usually means letting you pay over several months. 

Missing loan repayment? If that loan is hard to repay, you can’t afford to ignore the letters chasing the money you owe. Talk to the lender as soon as you can. They should offer options to reduce payments in the short term and hopefully develop an affordable repayment plan to help you catch up. They need to be repaid, but a reputable lender will work with you, not punish you.

Spending more than you bring in? Cutting your spending can improve your cashflow, make managing money easier – and reducing your financial worries.  The first step is to create a monthly budget showing income and outgoings. This will help you see the essentials and what you can cut out.

You can’t cut rent or mortgage costs, utility bills, council tax, insurance, food, transport costs, phone, broadband and debt repayment. You may have to postpone eating out, holidays, streaming services, gym memberships, saving and investments.

Getting back in control

Finding a solution to each of your financial worries has obvious practical benefits. But just as important is the realisation that you can get back in control of your money, and getting in control of money will make the anxiety will go away.

At Continuum we know the importance of being control of your money, and not allowing money, or the lack of it to control you.

We have ways to put you in control of your finances, from cutting the cost of your mortgage to building security for the future, with savings, pensions and investments.

Start by downloading our Budget Planner to help manage your day to day expenses.

To start finding ways to get in control, call us today.

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.

Your home or property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage.

When investing your capital is at risk.

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