Did you know that money management is so stressful it's actually making Americans sick? Sadly, a recent survey from Merrill Edge found more than half of all survey respondents reporting their physical and/or mental health was affected by stress over handling their finances.
While stressing about financial issues is common, certain mistakes can make money management harder than it needs to be. Avoiding these mistakes is important if you want to lessen the negative impact of financial tasks on your mental health.
1. Not having an emergency fund
If you're living paycheck to paycheck, money worries are likely at the forefront of your mind. After all, you have no safety net if unexpected expenses or a drop in income happens. An emergency fund with several months of living expenses can give you the peace of mind of knowing you're prepared for whatever surprises life sends your way.
2. Taking on too much debt
When you borrow a lot of money, you take on a whole lot of financial stress. Not only do you need to worry about interest, you also have to handle the logistics of making payments. The payments will also tie up some of your income, giving you less cash to spend on other essential purchases or to save for retirement.
3. Living without a budget
A budget may seem to be constraining at first glance, but the reality is that it can make managing your finances a whole lot easier. When you set a budget, you'll be able to make sure you're doing the right things with your money. You won't have to worry about whether you're overspending or whether you'll end up with enough cash to accomplish financial goals, because you'll know exactly where your dollars should be going.
4. Not automating any of your payment or savings
If you have to manually pay bills and transfer money to savings each month, this can take time and add to your stress. Accidentally late payments can mess up your credit. And you may find you don't have the money to do things you want or need to do, such as sticking to your debt payoff plan or paying your credit card bill in full.
Automating your payments and contributions to savings can eliminate a lot of these worries. Once you've set a budget, you'll know how much money is available to use for different purposes and can automate the transfer of funds so money gets where it needs to go. This can make managing money largely hands-off, and you'll need to do very little but review your accounts periodically to make sure all your payments and transfers went through as planned.
Avoiding these money mistakes can make financial management easier
If you can avoid these errors, hopefully managing your money will be easier for you and won't be the big source of stress it is for many Americans. While it may seem hard to save for emergencies, avoid debt, and live on a budget that allows you to automate savings, it's a whole lot easier than constantly worrying about whether you're handling your finances in a responsible way.