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By Mary Beth Storjohann

If you’re someone who feels a little anxious when it comes to your personal finances, you’re not alone.

You may be surprised to learn that, in fact, fifty percent of Americans have less than one month’s income saved for a rainy day and fifty-six percent of people have no idea their credit score is the most important factor for applying for a mortgage, car loan and new credit card. One in four people have almost nothing saved for retirement, with about twenty-six percent of workers reporting their household has less than $1,000 saved according to a new report from Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Knowing that many Americans are faced with money concerns that can leave anyone feeling uncertain or uncomfortable about the financial future, here’s eight steps to overcoming your financial anxieties:

1. Admit There’s a Problem

One of the best ways to tackle your anxiety is to first acknowledge that you actually have it and work to determine why. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, don’t have an emergency fund, or you’re not able to put any money aside for retirement – those could be the underlying causes of your stress and anxiety. There is no shame in admitting there is an issue, and sticking your head in the sand won’t alleviate the pain. Things happen and life moves quickly. The point is not to dwell on past missteps, but instead to pinpoint the issue and focus on what to do from here.

2. Think About Your Money Scripts

What is your core belief about money? How does money make you feel and what role does it play in your life? Maybe you’re someone who has always avoided money. Maybe you never think there is enough money and are constantly in the pursuit of more.

There are four primary “money scripts” that have been identified by financial psychologist Bradly Klontz. He categorizes them in the following way:

  • Money Avoidance: Thinking money is inherently bad and a source of anxiety.
  • Money Worship: Thinking happiness is contingent on having enough money (and there can never be too much money).
  • Money Status: When you believe your self-worth is interchangeable with net-worth.
  • Money Vigilance: When you see yourself as a steward of your money that must be carefully handled and intentionally directed.

Which money script(s) do you most identify with? Getting honest with yourself and how you relate to money can help you overcome any anxieties you may have around your finances.

3. Talk to Someone

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Most people would rather share the number of people they’ve been intimate with then tell you the balance of their bank account.

Talking about money is important. When you talk about money, whether it’s a question, concern or an overall feeling – you learn things you didn’t know before. I recommend having safe money talks with people you trust. A financial planner, therapist, a trusted friend or family member are all wonderful options when it comes to having money conversations. If you don’t talk to someone, you may never really face what it is that has you troubled about finances.

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