Financial Stress

Increase Your Spending Power

You may be dealing with financial stress and so need to stretch your dollars. Start by by purchasing locally produced goods at locally owned businesses. This keeps money local where it can pay local bills and wages. It also creates avenues for relieving financial stress via work or goods trade. Often times local business owners need things done or need goods for their business for which they are willing to exchange their products. This saves money for you both, strengthening your personal financial situation and bolstering the local economy.

There are products we all need which local vendors have to purchase from far away. Oftentimes people turn to big box stores. Instead, consider shopping online where you can usually find these goods for much less and can often have them shipped to you for free. Such online companies are often small businesses so you are also helping support folks like yourself.

Remember to Hold On to the Reins

Even though times of financial stress may leave you feeling that you’re on the back of a runaway horse with no means of control, it is important that you remember that only you can grab the reins and take control of the situation. Sure, you might be in desperate need of some of financial hardship help, but by seeking it out you are staying in control.

One thing advisers often suggest is to act before it is too late. If you are starting to feel that things are getting out of control be proactive in getting help or professional guidance. That gives you a better chance of re-strengthening on your own terms. Most people also find it helps to daily practice a form of meditation, be it yoga, bicycling, Tai Chi, aerobics, or actual seated meditation. You will be calmer, more able to see the big picture, and able to hold the reins with confidence.

Aggressive Financial Action

Some of the best financial advice ever given was “buy low, sell high.” If you have managed to hold stable in the current economy you are positioned to avoid future need for financial hardship help. The real estate bubble has left many a bank holding too many houses. It has also created a huge rental market. If you have some money to invest now is the time to buy rental housing.

Know your market, typically small starter homes are the safest investment. This is a house a single person, young couple, or two friends can easily afford to rent. If you can, get fantastic deals buying foreclosed property. Otherwise, look for price-dropped property. With current low mortgage rates finding one that is low enough to allow a rental price 10 -15% above your mortgage can be easy. This is 20 year investment. Purchase, then let the renters pay it off for you.

Finding a Mortgage You Can Afford

One of the biggest causes of financial worries is wondering whether you will make your monthly mortgage or rent payment. The stress comes from knowing you could lose your home and possibly become homeless. The idea of such an event produces a horrible feeling, and yet most Americans live this way. Harris Interactive and CareerBuilder’s annual survey shows that 77% of Americans live from paycheck to paycheck , meaning that one or two weeks without could equal homelessness.

Amongst the best financial advice around is to make sure that your mortgage is no more than ¼ of your monthly income, preferably ⅕. If you own a home that is over this income ratio it may be best to sell find a cheaper rental or purchasable home for yourself. If possible, found an LLC to own your house as a rental property, turning it into an asset for your future.

Reducing Unnecessary Expenses

Would you be shocked to learn that some of the best financial advice out there involves such simple solutions as making your own coffee rather than buying it in a coffee shop? Think about it – if you’re spending $3.50 for a small latte each morning Monday through Friday, that’s $17.50. At $70 a month on coffee you’re nearly pushing a grand ($840) each year just in coffee expenses. And then there’s sales tax…

If you purchased coffee by the pound at $15 a pound you would get between 30-50 cups of coffee (depending on how strong you brew and how big your mugs are) out of that. Throw in a one or two bucks per week for creamer and a few cents for sugar and you’re paying somewhere between forty-five and sixty-five cents per cup of coffee. That means that your entire week of coffee costs less than a single day’s purchased coffee.

There are obviously other forms of financial hardship help that fall into this very same category. Many unnecessary expenditures that don’t seem too significant in the moment really add up. Being clear about your budget goals and sticking to them can probably save you more money than you realize.

Cortisol, The Stress Hormone

Our bodies are equipped with the hormone cortisol for several reasons. Not only is it one of the “fight or flight” hormones that kick in to help increase alertness, immunity, memory function and lesson your sensitivity to pain, it also helps to regulate many of your body’s day to day functions including it’s role in regulating metabolism, blood sugar and immune function. As you can see, this hormone is important in the body. What is also important is that your body also be able to relax, that you not have too much cortisol in your body. Dealing with financial stress may not be a fight or flight situation, but your body doesn’t always know the difference between various types of stress.

Elevated cortisol levels due to financial worries is actually entirely possible. The side effects of this could include high blood pressure, decrease in bone density and muscle tissue, suppressed thyroid function, blood sugar imbalances, lowered immunity, increased inflammation in the body, increased stomach fat (which is associated with other health issues), etc. For this reason alone you should always seek out help should financial woes leave you feeling like you’re in over your head.

Car Problems Adding to Financial Stress?

Sometimes it seems as if everything happens all at once. Financial worries seem to pile on top of one another – if it wasn’t enough that you were moving and trying to pay down your debt, now you need to buy a new car. You have two main options when it comes to getting behind the seat of a new (or used vehicle) and that is to either lease or buy. While you might be charmed into the idea of the low payments offered by a lease you should think very carefully before you sign your money away on a lease.

The only time a lease is a truly good idea is if you know for sure that you don’t want to keep the car you’re leasing. If you want to bounce from new car to new car and let somebody else handle the big maintenance, then a lease might be right for you. However, you’ll end up spending more money on a lease in the long run compared to purchasing a car and paying it off. Even if you do decide to buy the car after your lease ends, you will still have paid a lot more than if you had bought it outright. Leases are yet another example of when the cheaper-sounding option ends up being the pricier one in the end.

Finding a Financial Planner

One of the ways that some people get the best financial advice is by working with a professional. Essential to your plan of finding financial hardship help is making sure that you have found a true professional. Anybody can call themselves a planner so be sure to look for specific credentials. Your main two options will be a Certified Financial Planner or a Personal Financial Specialist. Personal recommendations are a good place to start when looking for a planner, but you should also consider interviewing a few other options if you don’t feel you’ve found a good fit. You should examine the services they offer and don’t feel shy about asking them for references. How they handle themselves in times of financial stress, how easy they are to work with and any other question you have in advance should be answerable by those references. A final two things: find out how the planner gets paid and make sure that you’re working with somebody who asks you questions. If they don’t ask questions they probably won’t have all the information they need in order to do the best possible work for you.

Get a Second and Third Opinion

Financial hardship help seems to be everywhere these days. That is a good thing since so many people are experiencing rough times financially. What is not so easy is knowing if you are getting the best financial advice you could be getting and if the help is actual help and not just another person trying to get some of your hard earned cash. For this reason it is highly recommended that you get input from at least three different sources before you take any action.

Furthermore, it is wise to seek comparative input from three different kinds of resources, such as three different banks, three different investment specialists, and three different financial advisers. Compare the advice and help offered in order to determine the validity and worth of the suggested routes. Then choose the best, most realistic and supportive course of action.

Learn Your Budget With Cash

Financial worries occur in each person’s life.  Being overextended in your expenses compared to your income is one source of financial stress.  A lack of clarity on your true cost of living may be the cause.  Getting out of touch with our actual cash outflow is easy now that so few of us actually use cash on a regular basis.  Get a handle on what your actual cost of living is with the envelope system.

Start by cashing your paycheck and bringing home the cash, or withdraw that amount from your account if you use direct deposit.  Label envelopes for each of your bills and expense outlays; electricity, food, gasoline, etc., using your existing budget and place the appropriate amount of cash in each envelope. For two months pay your bills with the envelope cash, taking note of any envelope that needs more cash and adjust your budget or spending accordingly.  You should also take note of budget categories you failed to create in the first place.