A supermarket in Washington, D.C. on May 26, 2022.
Nicholas Cam | Agence France-Presse | Getty Images
A host of financial concerns have weighed on Americans’ wallets and sanity, from high inflation and battered markets to general economic uncertainty.
About 42% of American adults said money has had a negative effect on their mental health, according to a survey by Bankrate. The study included nearly 2,500 American adults and was conducted from April 6 to 8.
Among those who said the money affected their mental health, most said they felt stressed, anxious, and disoriented. Nearly half said checking their bank accounts was a trigger, while others indicated that paying a bill, making a purchase or having to talk about money makes them feel anxious.
“When people have financial problems or are dealing with financial problems, the potential for stress is huge,” said Mark Hamrick, chief economist at Bankrate. The study also found that 28% of those who said that money has a negative impact on their mental health worry about it on a daily basis.
Here’s what financial experts say can help.
When you face challenging financial environments, it’s important to consider what’s under your control and what’s not, according to Preston Cherry, certified financial planner, certified financial therapist, and founder of Synchronous Financial Planning in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
“We cannot control things like inflation or war or market cycles or economic cycles — these things will happen,” he said. “Uncertainty is certain.”
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Knowing this, he said, can help people take some of the blame and shame out of financial disputes and better deal with what’s going on in the environment.
“It allows you to think about what we can do to get there,” he said.
Where to set your budget
One of the problems people have with inflation currently hitting many industries is that it is inevitable, said Jason Steno, president of CoreCap Advisors & CoreCap Investments in Southfield, Michigan.
“It’s like a smile and endurance situation,” he said.
However, to make sure you’re not constantly overspending, this is a good time to check that your monthly budget is sufficient to meet your needs, according to Katie Nixon, executive vice president and chief investment officer for the wealth management division. trust.
“It’s still a healthy thing to do, but more so given inflationary pressures,” she said. “You have to make sure that your budget takes into account that your needs are becoming more expensive.”
Keeping expenses within your budget may mean that you need to cut back on some additional expenses such as entertainment, travel or restaurants. Many Americans have already made such cuts.
Experts also recommend building emergency savings, if you can, and paying down debt, especially high-interest credit cards. This will help you improve your financial position for whatever comes next.
As a general rule, counselors suggest that your emergency fund have between three and six months of living expenses.
“You want to have a cash cushion, so have a guard against any big swings in the pendulum,” Sherry said.
It’s also important for Americans to remember that business cycles are: cyclical. There may be better times ahead.
“Our view is that we have seen or neared peak inflation, and that’s good news,” Nixon said. “There has been a lot of damage, but it may be coming to an end.”
However, she suggests that people continue to monitor their cash inflows and outflows over the coming months, as prices are likely to remain high even with low inflation.
“That doesn’t mean we’ll be back to 2% over the next year, but it does mean we’re out of those highs,” Nixon said.
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