Your working life will be filled with many exciting experiences, from buying a first home to planning your retirement. Financial responsibilities are also part of that journey. Working towards your goals brings lots of happiness, but sometimes it can feel like your expenses are out of control. In 2018, Desjardins Insurance surveyed 3,000 Canadians on financial health and well-being. Half of the respondents said their financial situation was a source or stress in their lives. The survey also revealed that financial health and physical and psychological well-being go hand in hand.
Among the main sources of stress, respondents cited:
- Lack of an emergency fund
- Financial obligations and too much debt
- Retirement savings
Here are some tips to help you stave off financial stress, whatever the cause.
Spot the traps
Start by looking at your finances to track your cashflow—what's coming in and what's going out— and figure out how much you owe. Finding money to cover unforeseen expenses may just be a matter of cutting back on non-essential spending and reviewing your financial commitments.
Three ways to track and cut spending:
- Withdraw money from your account and pay in cash only
- Save all your debit and credit card receipts, including those for online and phone purchases, and tally your expenses at the end of the month to see where your money goes
- Use your credit card as a short-term payment option and pay off the balance in full by due date
Make your budget your best ally
Once you know what you earn and what you spend, you’ll get a better grip on your finances. According to Desjardins financial planner Angela Iermieri, financial decisions should always be based on budget and ability to pay. “To make the most of what you earn, you need to protect your financial health and reduce money-related stress. And what’s the best way to do that? Having a budget!”
Get into the habit of saving
Saving money when you’re dealing with new financial commitments can seem like an impossible feat. But there’s a lot you can do make saving part of your routine. “Regular deposits of even small amounts of money will make saving a breeze,” says Iermieri. Whether it’s counting pennies or setting up automatic deposits to your account, your savings can add up into a sizeable emergency fund. And you’ll be ready for whatever life throws your way.
Check out the online Financial health and well-being section to find out more about financial stress and how it affects you.