By Rose St. Louis, Zurich UK
Understanding and managing your finances can be stressful. If the thought of checking your credit card statement makes you anxious, or if you’re waking up during the night worried about your bank balance, you’re not alone. In fact, StepChange, the debt charity, found 7.4 million people experience difficulties sleeping because they are worrying about money. April is Stress Awareness Month, and now is a good time to shine a light on this important issue.
For those who are stressed about money, here are five top tips on combating it:
1 Come face-to-face with your finances
The thought of checking your bank balance can stir up feelings of anxiety, but by not understanding your financial picture, you could be causing yourself even more stress further down the line. Sit down and slowly go through your finances so you know where you are. You may be in a better position than you thought. Even if your money is as you expected, it’s still better to review and start putting together a plan if you haven’t already.
2 Keep on track by getting organised
With so many bills to pay each month, it can be hard to keep up with how much is coming in and out of your account, but you can manage this by creating a spreadsheet. Having a document that lists everything in one place will also help you to spot where you can make simple cutbacks. If you’re unsure about how to get started, there are many tools available online to help. Even having your direct debits and standing orders coming out the day of or after payday leaves you knowing what you have to work with for the rest of the month.
3 Get support and talk about your finances
It’s all too easy to bottle up money worries but, by doing so, you’ll only become more anxious and concerned. There are many places where you can seek financial help and guidance, whether this is from a charity or a financial adviser. Even having that initial conversation with a colleague or employer could reveal you’re actually in the same boat, and can show you that there is help and support available.
4 Worried about your credit score?
Checking your credit score may seem daunting and while it might reveal a mistake you have made in the past, it’s not too late to sort it out. There are many ways to recover and re-build your credit score, from being on the electoral register to paying bills ahead of schedule. Check now and address this sooner rather than later.
5 Stressing about your future? Make the most of tax efficient savings
Are you concerned about your future but assume it’s too late to start saving? Saving for the long term can appear daunting but, if you don’t get on top of it now, you could be missing out on free money. For the shorter term, making use of your ISA allowance and putting small amounts away means you always have a little pot of money building in a tax efficient way that’s easy to access. While with a workplace pension your contributions are matched by your employer, tax efficiency means you’re essentially getting money every time you pay in. Plus, with interactive tools and personalised methods of planning, you can match your savings plans with your aspirations. Some even help you to visualise what your future could look like – https://futureyou.zurich.co.uk/life-planner.