It doesn't take a recession or a rise in unemployment to bring on financial stress. Many feel it daily - when bills arrive in the mail, when they sit down to pay bills, when they see a television commercial for something they want but can't afford, when they hear of layoffs, or even when they hear of the rising costs of items or services they someday hope to purchase.

Financial stress is like a tsunami; it begins as a small ripple of water out in the middle of nowhere, until waves hit land, creating havoc in a five-mile radius. As bills, debt and financial aspirations grow, so does stress. And like a tsunami, the effects of stress will wreak far more havoc than you could imagine if you don't learn how to handle it in a positive way.


There are two main strategies for reducing financial stress: increasing knowledge and executing a written plan to achieve your goals. Increasing your knowledge about personal finance principles and strategies shows you possibilities. Developing and executing a written plan visually shows you how possibilities can become reality. Knowing that a certain reality is possible if you do certain things has a calming effect. It allows you to see light at the end of what previously seemed to be an infinitely dark tunnel with no exits.


Like most things, you'll find fear at the root of most financial stress. Fear arises out of not knowing and understanding the "big picture." When we don't know how we will be able to afford the things we need and want without digging ourselves deeper into a hole, fear sets in. Fear that is not properly dealt with manifests itself as anxiety and stress. When we become knowledgeable about financial principles and strategies, we are able to understand the financial big picture. We know that there is no need for anxiety and stress because, if we do certain things, it is possible to achieve our financial goals.


You can see the financial big picture and still feel stressed out if you don't see how that vision can become reality. That's the power of strategic planning - providing you with a road map that has a clearly plotted course to get where you want to be. There are a few things you'll have to do before coming up with your financial roadmap.

  • Prepare an Income Statement and Reduce Expenses. Write down all liabilities and all sources of income. Next, examine your statement closely for areas you can cut costs. Do you need all those movie channels on cable? Sometimes even utility bills can be adjusted just by going on a monthly budget program. For ten of the best money saving tips ever, visit
  • Prepare a Balance Sheet. A Balance Sheet tells you how well you've put your money to use. There are lots of examples on how to prepare one on the internet.
  • Plan to improve numbers. Take charge of your situation by developing a plan to improve every item on your Income Statement and Balance Sheet. For example, the desire to increase income is high on most lists. But, the question is by how much? Just saying as much as possible is not "real" enough to provide motivation. Deciding to increase income by 5% (an arbitrary number for this example) can be motivating because you will most likely think it is feasible. If you earn $3000.00 a month, increasing your income by 5% a month means increasing your income by $150.00 a month. Now you can come up with specific ideas on how to increase your income because you have a "real" number to test your ideas against.

Increasing your knowledge and consistently executing a feasible financial plan truly is the best therapy for financial stress. You'll come to accept that there is no need to worry because you know things will work to you favor if you do what you need to do. So, work on increasing your knowledge, developing a written plan and executing that plan consistently. You'll be glad you did.

Author's Bio: 

Sherrin Ross Ingram is America's Leading Power Strategist and author of "Wealth Mentality: Program Yourself to Get and Keep the Wealth You Want." Get Sherrin’s powerful FREE Report “Wealth Mentality Revisted” at the Wealth Mentality web site.