Mind Your Money

by Katie Casey-Macias, CFP® on Thursday August 24, 2023
Posted in Category: Budgeting, Saving
Tagged with : , ,

Couple preparing to pay bills

Like all of us, I’ve experienced financial challenges over the years. Even being a financial planner doesn’t make you immune to money problems. I know from first-hand experience that managing your finances is not an easy thing to do, especially for military families. I’ve encountered employment challenges brought on by frequent PCS moves, licensure obstacles, and the biggest military-related financial change of them all – our family’s transition to civilian life. As you can probably relate, the feeling of uncertainty over money can lead to stress and anxiety.

Here’s one important lesson I’ve learned throughout these challenging times — you are not alone if you’re feeling stressed about money.

Studies have shown that financial concerns, like how to pay monthly bills or cover unplanned expenses, can affect your mental well-being and your wallet. Other research indicates that financial stress can be a factor related to divorce and even an increased risk of suicide. First and most importantly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or having thoughts of self-harm, call or text 988 to contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Now, let’s talk about what you can do to ease some of the financial-related stress in your life. Here are a few actions you can take today to regain control of your finances and hopefully improve your mental well-being.

Start Small

While it is normal to feel some stress about money, there are things you can do to ease your mind and improve your financial situation. You don’t have to figure it all out at once, small meaningful actions have a huge impact over time. The following two suggestions are a great place to start:

  • Set up an emergency fund. It can provide peace of mind and relieve some stress knowing that you have money set aside for the unexpected. Financial experts recommend an emergency fund of three to six months of living expenses. Start with an initial goal of $1,000. Here are a few ways to save toward your goal.
  • Create a budget. I find having a budget incredibly empowering. I feel in charge of my money rather than it being in charge of me. Here’s a great guide on how to build your budget.

Seek Support

Sometimes, we all need a little help. The following resources can provide information, referrals, immediate financial assistance in some instances, and professional counseling.

Financial stress can impact your mindset and your wallet. It may be impossible to avoid it completely, but tools like an emergency fund and budget can help you stay on solid footing. Remember, you don’t have to figure it out alone. Reach out to resources at your installation and online when you need more support.