Financial stress is at a five year high according to PricewaterhouseCoopers's 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey. Although the last few years we've seen improvements in this area, these findings shouldn't surprise anyone if you look at data released by the U.S. Census Bureau last month which shows the median household income was $56,516 in 2015. That's barely enough money to live on let alone invest for the future.
Financial stress hurts everyone. When employees aren't happy with their compensation and standard of living, this severely impacts a company's performance and productivity. If people are making less money, the economy starts to struggle as consumer spending is decreased. Perhaps above all else, the stress of financial worry will drastically hurt your mental and physical health.
How can you handle tough financial times? Here are six tips to make it through.
Change your mindset about money
Most people don't make the connection, but what goes on between our ears drastically dictates how we live our lives. Sometimes we make financial stress that much worse by the negative thoughts we constantly dwell on. Instead of looking at money from fear and scarcity, start to see money for all the good things: freedom, possibility, opportunity and abundance. Changing how you think about money won't solve your financial problems, but it's the first step to overcoming your stress and acquiring more wealth.
Start a business
If you're not exactly seeing a huge increase in your income working for someone else, why not take a shot at working for yourself? The fastest way to acquire wealth is to start a business. You may be able to take this time of adversity and turn it into opportunity. Look around and find problems to solve. Maybe you have a car and you see a lot of people waiting for a bus; start a passenger vehicle business. Start a lawn mowing business, interior design company or whatever it is that you are naturally good at and enjoy. There are literally millions of opportunities to make money right now. Start by finding problems to solve for people.
When you're stressed, the last thing you may feel like doing is pounding the pavement and making new business connections, but this is precisely the time you need to be doing this the most. Opportunity may be at the other end of the next hand you shake. If you have a large network of contacts, you may not only be able to find better employment/financing possibilities, but also be in a position to profit from referrals. By simply being a middle man, you may be able to make money with little effort and build a solid reputation among your network.
Set and accomplish small goals
Even the largest problems get solved one step at a time. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the big, dismal situation that you're up against, set a series of progressively larger goals that will ultimately end with a solution to your problems. Form a plan and have milestones that you want to reach by a certain time and think of how you can realistically accomplish these tasks. The most important part is to then act on your plan and follow through. As you start making your way from goals A-Z, the accomplishments will snowball and start coming quicker and more noticeably. You'll quickly find yourself in an increasingly better position.
Confide in others
Thoughts trapped in the confines of your own mind can lead to a claustrophobic state of mind. Confide in people whose opinion you trust. When you have someone to bounce ideas off of, you will find that you are not alone and your troubles probably won't seem as bad as you fear. The other person may have been in a similar situation themselves and be able to give you advice. At the very least, you'll feel better getting it off your chest.
Get around successful people
Consciousness is contagious. The more time you spend with highly driven and successful people, the more it's going to rub off on you. It's a great strategy to relieve financial stress because it will motivate you like nothing else can. When other people in your inner circle are doing big things, it's naturally going to push you to play at their level and up your game. It's one of the best strategies for acquiring big money. This concept has been proven time and again in other settings. Fit people spend time with other fit people to become more physically fit. Religious people like to associate with other religious people to help them stay true to their faith. If you want to make big money, get around rich people who are big thinkers and are very successful.
If you find yourself stressed out about money all of the time, you need to do something about it. No one said it's easy, but America is truly the land of opportunity and there is no reason to struggle financially.
As author and psychologist Ben Sweetland said, "The world is full of abundance and opportunity, but far too many people come to the fountain of life with a sieve instead of a tank car... a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel. They expect little and as a result they get little."