Do you stress about money? - Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Do you stress about money?

I had an interesting conversation with BF the other day, when I confessed that I often stress about money. Like, on a daily basis. And it got even worse when I lost my job in February.

No matter how many times I run the numbers on retirement, or go through my budget, I always have this sinking feeling that what I’m doing isn’t enough. But you know what? It is enough. This recent unemployment stint has been my third in an 8 year career. And each time, I’ve come out of it with a better job, and a more positive attitude. Sure, my finances have taken a few setbacks over the years, but losing out on 2 months of RRSP contributions isn’t going to affect my retirement. Worrying about every dollar I make/spend, and over-analyzing how I’m going to advance my career is not productive and just leads to stress and anxiety.

It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t the money that I was specifically stressed out about, it was what that money represented. To me, having money means the opportunity to save money. And saved money means having a good future, being able to provide for my family, and living out my retirement without worrying about money.  Not having money, or not having the amount of money I perceive to be acceptable causes instant alarm bells and panic. Like when I lose a job, or when I think I might be stuck career-wise.

Reading Preet Banerjee’s book, “Stop Over-Thinking Your Money!” has actually really helped. Deep down, I know all I need to do is keep it simple; spend less than I earn, carry no high interest debt, avoid lifestyle inflation, etc. So if I know what I need to do, and for the most part, I’m doing it, why am I always freaking out?

Related: Why 20-somethings might have trouble retiring by 65

I often refer back to an article I read a while ago to calm me down. In this article, it said that happiness is a $75,000 salary. It says that while happiness doesn’t seem to have an impact on your day to day mood, it definitely impacts the feelings you have about the way your life is going. And it’s true. The article always reminds me that I should be grateful for what I have. Because overall, I am really satisfied with my quality of life. I’m able to save for retirement, travel, pay my mortgage, and have fun at the same time. I have an amazing boyfriend, and friends and family to count on.

Truthfully, if I never make more than I’m making right now (adjusted for inflation of course), I would be okay with that. Sure, I’d like to earn more (and I hope that I do), but I don’t see my quality of life improving at all. It would just stay the same, and I would be happy. :)

So I’m going to consciously try not to stress out about money on a day-to-day basis. There is no need for it, and I’ve proven that to myself over and over again. I really will achieve all of the financial goals I want for myself. It just takes time. And patience is one of the best qualities to have in life.

Do you ever stress out about money? How do you cope with that stress?

About Krystal Yee

I'm a writer, personal finance blogger, and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I'm a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner's Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I'm not working, you can usually find me running, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.

21 comments

  1. Um, all the time. Right now. I couldn’t sleep last night. I make enough to support us both while T job hunts but I really do not want to be the sole provider. New job will mean a nice raise but we won’t be able to save anywhere near as much as we should be until he finds something.

  2. I have no debt, ignoring the credit cards I use for all expenses and pay off monthly. I never have any money related stress. I think it’s connected.

  3. I stress about money a lot. It was worse when I had a lot more debt and no retirement. I’ve had many sleepless nights.

  4. All about balance. Stress enough about money to make me be financially fit but not enough to make me physically ill.

  5. I stress about it too! I think we all do – it’s part of the reason I started to write, to hold myself accountable and to reach out to a community. I’m glad this book helped – I hope you’re able to stick with it!

  6. I was stressing about money every day for a year when I started my own business and seeing the debt creeping up and no income coming in. Now, I’m in a spot where I’ve paid off a huge chunk of debt and not as stressed as I was.

    It’s natural to worry about money but I think the proper term is financial awareness. As long as your monthly bills are covered, have an emergency fund, have steady savings contributions, you can relax. :)

  7. It’s a balance of not being careless/letting things get out of control and remembering you can’t take it with you. Gratitude. I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time. Keep up the good work

  8. I definitely stress out about money and my career more than I should. I know logically that things are under control, but I still check my budget and savings goals every single day.

  9. That was a really nice, and honest post!

  10. I save 36.5% of my salary every month and I still stress out about money every day.

    It probably means I need to save less and feel less constrained but I’m still having trouble letting go.

  11. I think everyone stresses about money to a certain extent, regardless of how much or how little you have. I stress about it all the time, except when I’m working out at the gym, that seems to be the only time when my mind is actually focused on something else.

    I’m a bit stressed out because I haven’t fully paid off my trip that I’m going on next month (bad pf blogger, I know), but I know that it’ll get paid off either this month or next. On a brighter note, I’m a little bit less stressed than usual because I finally finished paying off my car loan last month.

  12. Great post and I agree, I think it is quite normal to stress about money whether you have a lot or a little. Having savings or a good nest egg represents freedom and gives you peace of mind.

  13. Can’t agree anymore than this post of all the posts I’ve read on this blog.
    The reason I’m a regular reader is because I’m mindful of personal financial management.
    I kept a budget for 2 years down to the dollar when I started out on my own.
    Then I realized what matters is having clear, realistic, tangible financial goals, ensuring what goes out is less than what comes in, save for a rainy day, avoid borrowing from your future, and the rest of the time is spent enjoying life! That beats stressing over how much is enough any day.

  14. Oh do I ever! Right now because I feel like I’m walking a bit of a tight-rope while paying down debt. But even once I get past that, I’m sure it won’t go away for many thousands of dollars because I will feel like I’m playing catch-up.

    Darn worrying personalities

  15. I think we did stress about money over the years although the budget helped us with that stress.We still do but for different reasons. We are under 40 and our mortgage is now paid off this month and we have no debt. It took lots of budgeting (we still do) and planning to make sure that our money was being put to good use while still enjoying life. My motto is “it’s not about how much you make it’s how you spend it”. You can make that $75k but if you blow it you will still keep stressing about money. Lifestyle and income have lots to do with stress as well so it’s important not to get too caught up in that game of life. Great post Krystal.

  16. All the time. Since I was 12. =/

  17. Great post, Kyrstal. As a single homeowner and landlord, I stress about money all the time. I recently had to raid my emergency fund for home repairs to the tune of $25K that came up out of the blue. It seems like as human we’ll never be happy with home much money we have. If I had $1 million, I would want $2 million. If I had $2 million, I would want $4 million. I think you have it bang on – spend less than you earn and save the difference and everything else will work out.

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