Straight Talk

Stressed about money? Here's what to do about it

Key Points
  • Money can bring up a lot of emotions for people.
  • But having a plan can bring about a sense of calm.
  • And make your goals more achievable.
Managing your emotions about money and your financial goals

You should read your anxiety about money as a call to action, says certified financial planner Douglas Boneparth.

"Money tends to be an emotional area of people's lives, so it's no surprise that they think about this quite frequently," said Boneparth, president of Bone Fide Wealth. "There are a number of ways to deal with this."

Start with information, he said. That can come from a certified financial planner, if you can afford one, or from doing your own personal finance research.

"Education is power and that's how you can deal with your emotions," Boneparth said.

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Then, working on your saving habits can bring you calm.

"Usually, savings can be something that is encouraging or makes you feel like you're getting closer to your financial goals," Boneparth said. Of course, it's easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed if you fall off your budget, he added, but money management can take practice.

"Saving for your financial goals should be something that's rewarding, so keep your head down, stay focused, stay disciplined and go after your great things in life," he said.

Boneparth recommends asking yourself three questions before making a financial decision: Can you afford it? Does it make sense? And will you feel good about doing it? If you don't answer yes to all of those questions, pause and reconsider.

One important way to stay on track, according to Boneparth, is to define your goals.

"You want to quantify those goals by time and value and then know which of your goals are most important to you," said Boneparth, adding that you'll need to be honest with yourself throughout this process about what it is you want to achieve.

"I have clients who want to do everything from buy homes, start families and start businesses," Boneparth said.

While those are some basic goals, Boneparth said he also had one client confide in him that he wanted to go to outer space.

"My point here is that goals are subjective," he said. "So much of living a meaningful life has to do with the goals that you want to accomplish for yourself."