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Financial Stress Management

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Stress, Managing Stress, Stress Management, Financial Stress, Managing Financial Stress, Coping Financial Stress, Stress relaxation, relaxation

Stress, Managing Stress, Stress Management, Financial Stress, Managing Financial Stress, Coping Financial Stress, Stress relaxation, relaxation


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  • 1. Managing Financial Stress: Surviving the Weak Dollar Nancy D. Losinno
  • 2. Where’s that $100 bill I just put in my wallet?
    • Learn to recognize financial stress
    • Worrying/arguing with spouse over $$$
    • Having to use plastic for everyday $$$
    • Only making minimum payments
    • Making payments late (and incurring those hefty “default rates”)
    • Feeling overwhelmed by debts
    • Having trouble sleeping or being moody
  • 3. Money Matters…Part of Life
    • Every family has expenses and decides their money priorities
    • Some things you have no control over: costs of gasoline, food, electric rates, income and property/school taxes, stock market
    • Financial stress can build up insidiously over time as larger economic forces change the overall climate
  • 4. Poor coping responses to Financial Stress
    • Being afraid to open the mailbox
    • Not paying your bills/holding onto what is believed to be your money
    • Stacking your bills in one pile and dis-regarding their due dates
    • Other avoidance tactics: drinking to escape, screaming at family members, even possibly domestic violence
    • Financial stress can cause some people to think of suicide
  • 5. Get control of what you can!!
    • Analyze your use of credit cards
    • Analyze your level of responsibility about paying bills on time to avoid late fees, default rates, overlimit charges, etc.
    • Figure out a Phase One plan, Phase Two, etc. about how you will learn to live on what you earn (short-term goals and long-term goals)
  • 6. Triaging your debts
    • Is there any situation that requires immediate (esp. legal) attention?
    • Is there any impending situation that if unaddressed, will create a huge crisis?
    • Wage garnishees, foreclosures, evictions, IRS or NYS income tax issues cannot be ignored
    • Get expert legal advice and know your rights under the NYS consumer protection laws (do a google search for bank, credit cards, etc.)
  • 7. Demystifying your Debts “What caused this mess?”
    • Effects of a divorce (legal fees, cutting assets in half, child support, starting a new household);
    • Kids in college;
    • Using cards to live—not living within your means;
    • A medical crisis
    • An adult child with “problems”
    • Lost income (a tenant moved out, etc.)
    • The terror of the default rate
    • A gas-guzzling vehicle
    • Not looking!!!
  • 8. Clear the Clutter
    • Your ability to think clearly about your situation will improve if you de-clutter your environment
    • Clutter can cause depression & inertia
    • Clutter prevents you from finding what you need quickly
    • Clutter will make you lose important papers (bills) that you must attend to
  • 9. Get organized today!
    • Create a bill-paying workspace with a bill-drop zone;
    • Have phone & office supplies nearby;
    • Develop habit of reading bills as they come in and flagging items that need response (call company, question amt.)
    • Be aware of all due dates—postmen are not perfect;
    • Get address book to keep track of all those online bill-pay user id’s and passwords
  • 10. Become a Smarter Consumer
    • What is your mortgage rate? Is it fixed or variable? If variable, get it fixed.
    • Are you over-paying for necessities? (e.q., using local drugstore for prescriptions vs. mail order)
    • Use in-network doctors
    • Make cash a habit; think twice
  • 11. Things you can “tweak”
    • Look for more competitive rates on:
    • Cable plans
    • Cell phone plans (can be bundled)
    • Mortgage
    • Homeowners insurance
    • Car insurance
  • 12. Some philosophical questions
    • To refinance, or not?
    • To borrow against your house, or not?
    • To declare bankruptcy, or not? What about “debt consolidation?”
    • Which medical plan is best for this time in yours and your family’s life?
    • How much should you improve your home and how much is too much?
  • 13. The Rule of Three
    • Make a promise to yourself to handle THREE problems a day
    • Set aside a certain time of the day to call a creditor re: incorrect bill, question a late fee, return an unwanted item, etc.
    • When you do this on a regular basis, you are chiseling away on your debt
  • 14. Money & Marriage
    • Marriage can be a formidable economic unit if both partners share same goals; if not marriage can create financial chaos
    • Both partners need to work collaboratively to solve the money issues; one cannot reserve right to “act out” with money according to indiv needs
    • One person’s acting out with money can create workaholism in other
    • Don’t go shopping when angry or depressed
  • 15. Detoxing from Overspending
    • Is sure to bring discomfort
    • Is an opportunity for growth & creativity
    • Create a “spending plan” not a budget
    • Spending plan: rational, thought-out, no connotations of “scrimping”
    • Avoid the stores..find something else to do, enjoy paying your bills
    • Take a second look at kid’s afterschool activities (dance, sports, etc.) that require extra time and money
    • Trim spending for eating out, fast foods esp due to poor planning, or not grocery-shopping regularly. If going out, avoid appetizers, alcohol, pricey desserts, etc.
    • Put your credit cards in a “Forbidden Zone.”
  • 16. Ten Money Rules for Becoming Proactive
    • Your job is your most valuable asset. Protect it, perform your job well. Your job gets you better rates, pays your health insurance, etc.
    • Question the “not enough” feeling of inadequacy you might have. Often comes from childhood deprivation, other trauma, etc.
    • Set goals, have a dream such as the house being paid off by retirement, etc.
    • Pay down higher interest rate cards first but you must first know the rate your’re paying
    • No one minds your money as well as you will. Don’t look to be taken care of by someone else.
    • Keep good records and someday you will be glad you did.
  • 17. More Money Rules
    • Subscribe to a monthly money-related magazine. It will jog your brain for new ideas, keep you updated about trends, and remind you to do some regular housekeeping on your finances.
    • Teach your kids about money literacy, the little kids as well as the older ones.
    • Learning money skills is a positive life skill. Don’t give your kids a fish, teach them how to fish.
    • Nature abhors a vacuum. When you look at your whole life, try to look at the areas of prosperity or the ways you can downsize in order to help others. Try to live smaller.
  • 18. Causes of Relapse for your “Spending Plan”
    • Using money as a mood-changer
    • “ We’ll deal with it later” impulsivity
    • “ Till debt do us part”
    • Hidden addictions
    • Not planning for major expenses
    • Playing rescuer to other people’s crises
    • Untamed grandiosity
    • A divorce occurring late in life
    • Letting cash “burn a hole in your pocket”
    • Sudden wealth syndrome
  • 19. Speaking of Sudden Wealth
    • Would you know how to handle it wisely should it happen to you?
    • Sudden wealth produces many emotions: guilt, anxiety, fears, etc.
    • Many have spoken about “the Lotto curse”
    • Get a good lawyer, a good accountant and a good therapist!!!
  • 20. Making Positive Changes
    • Where would you like to be one year from now? Five years from now?
    • Self-esteem must be an inside job, and should not be defined by externals
    • You are not your debt, but you are responsible for managing your financial affairs wisely
    • Eliminate “entitlement” thinking; avoid resentment about what you don’t have & focus instead on what you do have
    • Get some mental energy going and see this as a challenge and opportunity for growth