People seem to stress a lot about their finances. As a matter of fact, 85% of Americans report feeling financial anxiety today, according to the Northwestern Mutual 2016 Planning & Progress Study. The stress may be justified — your financial wellbeing is important — but how do you know if you’re worried about the right things? Here are some stress points and how to address them:
1. Not having an emergency fund.
Stuff happens–we get flat tires, have medical bills, need a flight home for a family illness or there’s an unexpected gap in employment. Having an emergency fund allows you to pay for those things and avoid putting everything on a credit card. Think about how much you could put into savings every month to start building that defense fund. Even $5 /week adds up over time.
2. Spending beyond your means.
If you spend more than you make each month, you probably know that this can’t go on forever. Racking up credit card bills can create debt that’s hard to get rid of. Do yourself a favor and create a basic budget so you don’t dig a financial hole you can’t get out of.
3. You have no employer benefits or are self-employed.
There’s more to your income than your paycheck. Benefits matter and if you don’t have them with your employer, you may need to get them for yourself.
Health Insurance protects you from medical costs that could devastate your balance sheet if you don’t have coverage.
Disability Insurance protects your income if you are unable to work. Many employers provide disability coverage, but know that you can also purchase your own individual disability insurance that you can keep it regardless of where you work.
A 401k is a retirement savings vehicle. If you do not have access to one you may want to consider an IRA (individual retirement account) as a way to start saving toward your future.