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If you worry about finances, you're far from alone.
More than three in four Americans (77%) report feeling anxious about their financial situation, according to a new Mind over Money survey by Capital One and The Decision Lab. Financial worries include a broad range of issues from savings and retirement to affording a house or child's education.
Below, Select reviews key findings from the survey and some advice on how to make your finances less stressful.
- 77% of Americans report feeling anxious about their financial situation
- 58% feel that finances control their lives
- 52% have difficulty controlling their money-related worries
Americans are most worried about their financial future, which includes: not having enough money to retire (68%), keeping up with the cost of living (56%) and managing debt levels (45%).
And the impact financial stress has on Americans stretches into all aspects of life with respondents saying they feel fatigued (43%), find it difficult to concentrate at work (42%) and have trouble sleeping (41%). A quarter of respondents (25%) said financial stress affects their relationships.
Select spoke with Andy Navarrete, EVP of external affairs at Capital One, for some tips on how to make finances a bit more manageable.
Create big picture goals
"Think big picture first," Navarrete says. That can include long-term goals, such as saving for retirement or buying a house, as well as short-term goals like traveling.
So much financial advice disregards the big picture, Navarrete argues, and has you jump right to action. But that actually causes more stress.
"Thinking big picture is less stressful because it's goal oriented and positive," he says. "And then you think about the tactics or mechanics of how you get there."
Share your financial goals
"Keep your goals in front of you, but also share your goals with others," Navarrete says. This may include friends, family, colleagues or other support systems.
If you don't feel comfortable discussing finances with family or friends, consider discussing it with financial professionals. Capital One provides The Money & Life Program (formerly Money Coaching), which is free and available to everyone, even if you're not a Capital One customer. This service is confidential, and you can work with a certified coach to create a personalized action plan to improve your money goals.
Since launching in 2017, 72% of participants have reported reduced stress after attending a session.
"Seeking a support network is actually a major positive and something that absolutely contributes to the success of planning over time," Navarrete says.
"Avoid too much regret — learn from it and take actions to prevent it from happening again," Navarrete says.
It's best to assess your mistake, learn from it and take positive actions so you can move on.
Once you have a clear goal, take advantage of all the tools available to you so you can start working toward achieving it. At Select, we have various articles that can help you learn about how to pay off credit card debt and build credit to achieve a good credit score.
For example, if you're in debt and paying high interest fees, consider opening a balance transfer credit card that offers no interest for up to 21 months. The Citi Simplicity® Card offers 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers from date of first transfer (then 19.24% - 29.99% variable APR; balance transfers must be completed within four months of account opening). You'll pay an introductory balance transfer fee of 3% or $5, whichever is greater for transfers completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).
And if you want to save for a vacation, using a rewards credit card can help you save on travel. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card offers 5X miles per dollar on hotel and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 2X miles per dollar on every other purchase. (See rates and fees).
There are also a number of free resources available including credit score simulators, such as CreditWise from Capital One, which show you the impact certain actions have on your credit. For example, it can estimate how many points your score increases if you pay off debt.
Information about the Citi Simplicity® Card has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.