Although chronic stress has many sources, a primary cause in the United States is money, according to a 2016 survey by the American Psychological Association. The survey of 3,511 adults found that 61% reported feeling stressed about finances.
When it comes to money, “there is a lot of fear of the unknown,” says James L. McKown, III, CFP®, Financial Planning Manager at Wells Fargo Advisors. We worry about whether we’re earning and saving enough, and we feel stressed about putting aside enough for the future, McKown says. When the stock market is low, we worry that our investments are going down in value; and when it’s high, we fret that we’re missing out.
One way to calm financial fears is to educate yourself about money. “Start with a clear understanding of where you stand financially,” McKown suggests. “Even if the news is bad, at least you’ll know where you stand.”
The power of planning
Seek out the advice of a trusted financial advisor who can help you set short- and long-term financial goals. “A big part of financial stress is the fear of making the wrong decisions,” McKown says. Having advice from a knowledgeable professional may help ease that fear. When you understand your finances, have realistic expectations, set reasonable goals, and feel confident in your decision-making skills, you’re less likely to feel stressed.
A powerful tool that you can use to create an investment plan is Wells Fargo Advisors’ Envision® process. With the help of your financial advisor, Envision enables you to develop an investment strategy that’s based around your life’s goals, dreams, and needs. Moreover, you can track your performance and make adjustments whenever necessary.
Once you have a solid investment plan in place, be sure to review it with your financial advisor on a regular basis — once or twice a year, or whenever you experience a change in income, job loss, inheritance, or other large financial shift.