A whopping ¾ of Americans say they are stressed about this one common factor. Want to know what it is?
According to The American Psychological Association’s “Stress in America” survey results for 2014 which were released this past week, 72% of American’s say they are stressed about money. And 22% say they are extremely stressed by it.
The top three things that set off the stress are:
- Paying for unexpected expenses
- Paying for essentials
- Saving for retirement.
The hardest hit are basically any group that aren’t wealthy Baby Boomers. Parents, Gen X-ers, Millennials, and lower-income households (making less than $50,000 per year) feel the pinch the most.
More women have lain awake at night in the last month than men due to stress over finances: 51% of women compared to 32% of men. Parents are more likely than non-parents to turn to unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking to deal with their stress. And 31% of adults with partners cite money issues as a major source of conflict in their relationship.
Can you relate? Probably about ¾ of you can. So what can you do to de-stress our money stress? Here are three things to help:
Make a budget. Many people have never made a budget. They look at the bank balance and think there’s money. And maybe there is until bills come due, the tires go flat, or retirement arrives. You would not run a business well without a budget. Neither can you be a good steward of your income without one. Start here. “By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches” (Proverbs 24:3,4).
Spend within Your Means. Once you know where your money is going discipline yourself to live within your means. We get into financial trouble when we want more than we can afford. Be content with the simple things. Paul wrote Timothy and said, “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Timothy 6:8). Can you say that? In an instant gratification world that can buy on credit this is character quality we need to learn to value.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have” (Hebrews 13:5).
Work towards a 10-10-80 Plan. Someone once told me to “give the first 10% to God, save the next 10% for retirement, and live on and enjoy the remaining 80%.” It’s a pretty good plan that will de-stress you if you live this way. The Scripture speaks of the tithe but the New Testament speaks about giving. Wherever you land on this issue, giving is something that is in the nature of God and is something he would want you to do with your income.
And saving for the future is important too. Saving for retirement is one of the stress “triggers” financially. Why not get a jump on that and start today. Can’t save 10% right now for retirement? Then start with something. Just start.
Picture yourself as part of the ¼ of Americans who are financially stress free. And take some steps today to become one.
Question: What is the source of your greatest stress?