Staying focused: How to manage financial anxiety

People around the world are struggling with the financial anxiety that accompanies an ever-changing global market. COVID-19 took the world by storm, and financial anxiety has people worried about more than just their health. Whether you're worried that your investments might not turn out to be all that you'd hoped or you're concerned about how you're going to put food on the table this week, financial insecurity can cause a range of feelings, from brief anxiety to debilitating panic.

According to a recent survey by Borrowell:

  • 74% of Canadians are experiencing pandemic-related financial stress
  • Over 40% say their biggest financial worry is how to pay for necessities (food, rent, utilities, etc.)
  • 32% report they don’t have an emergency financial plan in place
  • 53% of respondents to a Conference Board of Canada survey said they expected their job prospects to worsen
  • Economists predict an unemployment rate of around 20%

There's no doubt about it–times are tough, and life is stressful for most Canadians. Global markets aren't showing signs of getting back to normal any time soon, and it's important to have strategies in place to manage financial stress.

Dealing With Financial Stress and Anxiety

While some Canadians are worried about how the pandemic will affect their long-term financial goals, many also have financial anxiety about how they're going to cover day-to-day expenses. It can be hard to focus on long-term financial planning (like retirement or paying off a house) when the biggest worry is how to pay rent or pay for utility bills. 

Some people who previously felt comfortable with their financial situation are now wondering how they're going to pay their bills this month, which can create stress and worry that's tough to overcome. This can be especially problematic for people who invested in high-risk financial situations prior to the pandemic.

While it's important to manage financial anxiety, there is no one way to quell your worries. Experts recommend that people who are dealing with anxiety over money control the things they can, and try to put the things they can't control on the back burner. We know–it's easier said than done. For many people, however, focusing on the things you can control (like cutting down on expenses and thinking about how you can create additional streams of income) can be a smart way to keep anxiety at bay during tough times.

What To Do Next

If you're dealing with financial anxiety and stress, it can be tough to know exactly what steps to take next to help yourself feel calm and in control. Here's what we recommend.

  • Educate yourself: It can be tempting to fall victim to clickbait, which doesn't paint a full picture of the financial situation in the world today. Be sure to check out news from various sources, and beware of anything that's super-sensationalist. There's no denying that the financial situation in the world right now is concerning, but markets fluctuate. If you find yourself paying more attention to gloom-and-doom news than news that provides real-life facts, consider choosing news sources that paint a more complete picture of what's happening in global financial markets.
  • Assess your personal situation and your options:  Yes, the markets are changing–but that doesn't necessarily mean that things are changing for you. Some markets thrive when a global crisis occurs, while others suffer. If you have investments that are thriving or you're experiencing a boom in business, there may be less of a need to change your financial plan due to the global economy. Continually reassess your personal finances, as they may not be in line with the general trends of the world.
  • Create, build or revisit your plan: Remember what we said about controlling what you can? This is where you get to work. After you assess your personal situation, it's time to learn more about what you can do to keep your finances in check. Creating a monthly budget and making adjustments to help you meet your current financial goals can be a first step toward getting rid of financial anxiety

We're Here To Help. 

If you're struggling to get your financial anxiety under control, we're here to help you figure out what to do next. Reach out to People Corporation today to learn more about our services–we look forward to getting to know you. 


Written by Joseph De Dominicis, Senior Vice President, Group Retirement Solutions and Salina Shariff, Senior Manager, Group Retirement Solutions at People Corporation.

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