Debt Related Stress is a Common Problem

SEP 20, 2010

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The current economy has more Americans than ever experiencing anxiety and persistent worry over money. As evidenced by an Associated Press survey, 46 percent of participants report feeling debt-related stress.

Given the high rate of foreclosure, bankruptcies and unemployment, it’s understandable what’s got people stressed. But what has economists confused is that roughly the same percentage reported being stress one year ago, even though many would say the economy has improved since then.

Despite overall economic growth, many Americans are not feeling any improvements on a personal level. This is especially true for families living on a fixed income who have been able to get by fine in the past but now see the prices of gas, food and other bills increasing. Others live in perpetual fear of losing their job or face turmoil in not being able to find one.

These are very real fears, but it’s also important to understand the harmful effects stress can cause, physically, mentally and emotionally. The American Stress Institutes notes the stress can lead to headaches, depression, social withdrawal, body aches, stomach issues and persistent anxiety, among other harmful ailments.

Ways to overcome your anxiety:

  • Create a budget. This is the most basic way you can manage your finances and examine what you take in verses what you spend each month. Make a list of all your monthly purchases – including entertainment, takeout and other leisure activities – and see what you can cut back on.
  • Start an emergency fund. Most of life’s financial disasters are the result of a sudden job loss, medical bill or other large unexpected expense. Having a separate fund for these setbacks may help you avoid relying on credit or using all of your savings.
  • Get help. Talk to a credit counselor, utilize online resources or attend a debt seminar. Taking a proactive approach to your finances will ease your mind and you may learn something you didn’t know before.