Financial stress is up.
The results are in from the American Psychological Association’s (APA) most recent Stress in America survey. Sixty-five percent of respondents reported money as a significant source of stress. This marks the highest level since 2015.
Inflation is a main driver for stress as well. Eighty-seven percent of respondents said inflationary concern resulted in stress.
Younger adults (ages 18 to 43) more frequently reported money as a source of significant stress than those older than 43 years of age. Eighty-two percent of those 18 to 25 years of age reported money as a significant source of stress. For those 26 to 43, it was 81%. Housing costs and the economy are also significant sources of stress for this group.
But money stress has impacted older adults as well. Sixty-eight percent of those 44 to 57 years of age reported money as a significant source of stress. Those beyond age 57 reported less stress caused by money.
You are probably nodding your head in agreement. Like those in this report, you feel the stress caused by financial concerns as well.
So, what are you to do? Inaction is certainly not the right response. Inaction only increases the likelihood your financial challenges and stress will persist and increase. Here are three action steps for you to take:
1. Lean into God.
First, go to God in prayer. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” God wants you to bring your stress to Him. Even in the midst of financial troubles, he is big enough to bring you a peace that is beyond your understanding. Are you stressed? Talk to Him about it.
Next, consider what God says about money and possessions. God teaches us the perspective through which we are to view our finances and how to manage those resources for His glory. Often, financial stress starts when move away from His perspective and design. We try to manage and fix financial problems on our own. We pursue financial goals that miss the eternal mark. Experience the contentment and calm God provides those who put Him first in their finances.
2. Reset expectations.
Things have changed. You know this. When major shifts in an economy occur, you must shift your financial expectations and strategies as well. During these inflationary times, you likely cannot purchase as much as you once did. Adapting to this change may require adjusting your expected standard of living. Trying to maintain an unrealistic standard of living will only result in more financial turmoil and stress.
Things have changed. You know this. When major shifts in an economy occur, you must shift your financial expectations and strategies as well.
This may also be a good time to ensure your money is going to that which you prioritize and enjoy. American household spend a significant amount of money on items and services that bring them little happiness. They purchase items or maintain services without questioning the value those items or services bring to their lives. And money is wasted. Take some time to make sure your budget reflects God’s priorities and directs money toward those things you enjoy.
3. Get a plan.
I have found the absence of a plan dramatically increases stress. Without a plan, everything feels uncontrollable and unknown. A financial plan will provide a sense of control, even during financially tight times.
There are two types of plans you should have. One is a high-level plan. This plan identifies what major financial goals you should pursue and when you should pursue them. I recommend using the 8 Money Milestones are your high-level plan. The second plan is a budget. A budget helps ensure money goes to that which you prioritize. This is your Blueprint for Mission. Reviewing both plans, at least, once of month can help you feel more in control and less stressed.
Financial stress is all over the place. You are not alone. So, do something about it. Seek God, reset expectations, and get a plan. This combination may be exactly what you need to reduce your financial stress.