“An anxious heart weighs a man down…“ – Proverbs 12:25
Worry is just no good, guys and gals. We’re all victim of a little too much worry every once in a while though. And these crazy times we’re living in naturally create a bit of anxiety about our financial futures. Most of the time though, when we worry, it’s for things that (1) we cannot control (like our 401k balances), and (2) we do not understand. So, quit your worries because it does no good, and take some action:
How to Worry Less About Your Finances
Understand Your Finances – Has it been a while since you reviewed all of your account balances or credit reports? Well, it’s the beginning of a new year and you’re worrying, so take some time soon to really get a firm grasp on your financial situation. I keep a one-sheet, dashboard-style excel file with all my account information. It really helps me. Doing that or plugging into an online program like Mint.com will help you see your financial life in one spot and ease your fears of the unknown. Credit reports can be obtained free from annualcreditreport.com.
Make Sure You’re Adequately Insured - If you’re properly insured, you lessen the chance that a major event will knock you off track and leave you in more debt. You should review your insurance policies annually to understand how you’re insured on your health, home, cars, and life (if you have dependents). See 3 Costly Myths About Insurance (@ MSN Money, by Liz Weston).
Secure Your Main Source of Income and Diversify - We’re all worried about layoffs to a certain degree. So become the all-star player at work. Get there early and stay late. If there was ever a time to do your best work, it’s now. But if you really think a layoff is about to happen, it’s time to take action. You want to start preparing today. Get an account on LinkedIn and start networking. Polish up the resume and begin investigating job openings. Get a feel for your job market and consider other cities.
Also, consider creating a second stream of income as a backup. It could be from a part-time job (deliver pizzas), odd jobs (list your services on craigslist.org), or even an online business (start a blog). This extra income can then be used to pay off debts and increase your savings.
Get Rid of the Excess Debt – Stop worrying about your excess debt and get rid of it. Here’s your plan to be debt free. Having a plan will make you feel better instantly.
Stash More of Your Cash - I couldn’t do a post like this without mentioning the bread and butter to less worry: having more money. Having a few months or more of living expenses saved up will give you more peace of mind. Start an emergency fund.
Increase Your Financial Knowledge – Every time we break out the vacuum cleaner and our cat goes crazy, I’m reminded that a lack of understanding creates a bit of fear. Instead of acting like a spaz cat every time a complex financial topic comes up, take the time to gain some basic understanding about the subject. I’m by no means an expert, and much of what I do know has come from personal finance books or the personal finance blog-o-sphere.
So tell us, what are you doing to worry less about your finances?