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Top five money fears – and how to tackle them


ARE YOU worried about your financial situation? For the eighth consecutive year, American Psychological Association has identified money as the number-one stress trigger, with 72 per cent of Americans reporting stress about money and nearly one in five saying they have either skipped or considered skipping going to the doctor because of financial concerns.
As for relationships, almost one third of adults with partners reported that money is “a major source of conflict”.
Here are tips for tackling the most common money stresses.
You’re just one paycheck from financial disaster.
Corporation For Enterprise Development’s recent Assets And Opportunity Scorecard reported that more than 40 per cent of American households are “liquid-asset poor”, meaning that they have less than three months of savings to
help them absorb a financial shock like a lost job, medical emergency or other unforeseen financial expense.
Tip: Build a crisis fund.
After learning how to budget, building an emergency fund is the next essential step in financial planning. Saving and investing for other goals are equally important but they should follow the creation and annual review of a healthy emergency fund.
You’re lost financially.
A 2014 survey by economists from George Washington University and the Wharton school of University Of Pennsylvania states that only 30 per cent of Americans could accurately answer three basic personal-finance questions dealing with savings and investment returns. Respondents from other major developed countries – including Germany, the Netherlands, Japan and Australia – scored roughly the same. It’s a global problem.
Tip: Identify your biggest financial problems.
Does every dime you make go toward paying bills? No savings or investments? No emergency fund? Once you’ve identified your main money blind spots, seek help. Reach out to a trusted friend or relative with good money habits or a qualified financial adviser who can help you see where you stand, establish realistic goals and restart your financial education.
You’ll never catch up.’s March financial security index said that nearly half of Americans aren’t saving enough for emergencies or retirement. Only a quarter of middle-class households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 were savings champs, putting away more than 15 per cent of their income.
Tip: Forget the past and begin today.
Start by figuring out where you stand financially. Then address your expenses and whether there’s an opportunity to boost your income so you can make up for lost time.
Your money troubles are putting your closest relationships in jeopardy.
Money issues affect all relationships but couples can be hit the hardest by money secrecy or so-called “financial infidelity”.
Tip: Face the music.
Take qualified advice, quantify the extent of your problem, make a plan and share the details face-to-face with all loved ones or business partners who need to know. Assume you won’t be able to control their response, so focus on solving the problem and vow to end your secretive behavior for good.
You can’t face financial paperwork.
When you can’t face bills, statements and other financial calls or communications, it generally reflects financial uncertainty in some form.
Tip: Seek help.
Pull the information together and take advice if you need to. Put payments and other financial decisions on a paper or digital calendar with reminders to act.
Bottom line: Fear about money issues can affect your health and relationships. Diffuse that stress through education, assistance and positive action to improve the outlook for your financial future.Editor’s note: You can find more advice on how to budget and building an emergency fund online through the links included in our electronic version of this article at
Nathaniel Sillin directs Visa’s Practical Money Skills For Life financial education programs. Follow him on Twitter at His articles are intended to provide general information and should not be considered legal, tax or financial advice. Always consult a tax or financial adviser for information on how the law applies to your individual financial circumstances.

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