7 Ways of Dealing With Financial Anxiety

By Janet Siroto · July 02, 2024 · 9 minute read

We’re here to help! First and foremost, SoFi Learn strives to be a beneficial resource to you as you navigate your financial journey. We develop content that covers a variety of financial topics. Sometimes, that content may include information about products, features, or services that SoFi does not provide. We aim to break down complicated concepts, loop you in on the latest trends, and keep you up-to-date on the stuff you can use to help get your money right.

7 Ways of Dealing With Financial Anxiety

If you’ve found yourself worrying about money lately, you’re not the only one. Nearly half of Americans say 2024 has been the most stressful year of their lives financially, often citing high costs for essential goods like food, according to a May 2024 poll of 2,000 adults by MarketWatch Guides . Nearly nine in 10 respondents (88%) reported feeling financial stress, with 65% saying their finances are the most stressful aspect of their life.

Many of today’s financial stressors are out of our control — like inflation and high mortgage rates. Even so, there are actions you can take to manage money-related anxiety. Here, you’ll learn steps you can take to tackle financial goals despite challenging times.

What Is Financial Anxiety?

It’s normal to worry about money from time to time, but if you are continually worrying about bills, your money worries keep you up at night, and/or you find it difficult to face your financial situation head on and come up with solutions, you may be dealing with financial anxiety.

Financial anxiety is defined as an intense fear or discomfort caused by things related to money, such as debts, expenses, investments, income, savings, or adverse economic situations. This type of anxiety can affect anyone, regardless of their income or financial status, and it can often be debilitating.

Like other forms of anxiety, financial anxiety can interfere with everyday life and affect your mental and physical well-being, leading to depression, loss of appetite, insomnia, an inability to focus, and even cardiovascular and other medical problems.

Can You Overcome Financial Anxiety?

Yes, it’s possible to overcome financial anxiety with the right strategies and mindset. Overcoming this issue involves understanding the root causes of your anxiety, developing a proactive approach to managing your finances, and seeking support when needed. While financial anxiety may not disappear entirely, you can learn to manage it effectively and reduce its impact on your life.

7 Ways to Deal With Financial Anxiety

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to money stress, there are strategies that can help you feel more in control of your finances. Consider trying one or more of these tips, and see what works best for you.

1. Tackle One Decision (or Problem) at a Time

Financial anxiety can be paralyzing when you try to address all your financial concerns at once. A good first step to reducing financial stress is to figure out what’s making you feel most anxious. Is it your spending, your student loans, your mortgage, or saving for the future? Then focus on tackling one decision or problem at a time.

It can also be helpful to break down larger financial goals into smaller, manageable tasks. For instance, if you’re worried about debt, start by creating a plan to pay off the smallest debt or the highest-interest loan first. Gradually addressing each issue can help you feel more on top of your money and reduce overall stress.

2. Create a Budget

A major facet of money stress can involve feeling out of control in terms of your finances. There’s a simple solution to that: making and sticking to a budget. A budget allows you to see exactly where your money is going and helps you make informed decisions about your spending.

While budgeting may sound like an overwhelming process, it simply involves looking at your income and spending over the last several months, categorizing your spending, and (if necessary) identifying areas where you can cut back. There are all different ways to allocate your money, but one simple framework is the 50/30/20 budget. It recommends putting 50% of your after-tax income toward needs, 30% toward wants, and 20% toward savings and debt repayments beyond the minimum.

Having a clear financial plan can provide a sense of control and reduce uncertainty about your financial future.

3. Prepare for the Unexpected With an Emergency Fund

One great way to allay financial stress is to know that you have some back-up funds when or if you need them. Should life throw you a financial curveball (like a major car repair, unexpected medical bill, or loss of income), having a solid emergency fund you can tap means you won’t have to run up expensive debt to cope.

A general rule of thumb is to keep at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses stored in a separate savings account (ideally a high-yield savings account). And since you already created a budget, you know how much, on average, your necessities cost each month.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to build your emergency fund overnight. It’s okay to start small; even setting aside $50 to $100 a month can add up over time. Consider setting up an automatic transfer on payday from checking to a linked savings account so you aren’t tempted to spend that amount.

Recommended: How to Build an Emergency Fund in Six Steps

Get up to $300 when you bank with SoFi.

Open a SoFi Checking and Savings Account with direct deposit and get up to a $300 cash bonus. Plus, get up to 4.60% APY on your cash!

4. Deal With Debt

Even in the best of times, debt can cause worry and stress. It may feel like a weight that is always hanging over you. And inflation and high interest rates (ouch) can make the anxiety more intense.

If you have debt that is causing you stress, it’s a good idea to take steps to reduce it — think of it as a form of financial self-care. Start by listing all your debts, including the interest rates and minimum payments. Then consider using strategies like the debt snowball method (paying off the smallest debt first) or the debt avalanche method (paying off the highest interest debt first). You may also want to explore options for consolidating or refinancing your debt to reduce interest rates and monthly payments.

5. Just Say No to Splurging

When we’re stressed, there are a lot of ways to relax or blow off steam — and many of them cost money. Retail therapy, a big night out, a weekend getaway: Sure, they are all wonderful, but if you are dealing with financial stress, they may not be good options. They can add to any debt you are carrying, give you less cash for daily life, and lead to more financial stress.

Here are some tips that can help you develop better spending habits:

•   Don’t window-shop or pit-stop at your favorite stores. That’s just putting temptation in your path.

•   If you see something you feel you must have, even though it’s not a true need, wait for a while (anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days) before buying it. You may find that the urge cools.

•   Set aside some “fun money” in your budget for low-cost treats. Some ideas: getting a fancy coffee on Friday morning to reward yourself for a week of hard work; taking yourself to the beach one afternoon; climbing a mountain and savoring the view; getting a 10-minute massage at a nearby spa.

6. Add a Second Income Stream

Sometimes it’s not about subtracting spending from your daily life, but rather, about adding more cash to your pocket. There are many benefits to a side hustle: Picking one that fits into your current lifestyle without taking up too much of your free time can really add value to your wallet and your life.

Before choosing a gig, think about what you’d like to do. You might be able to freelance as a writer or social media consultant. Or perhaps you can sell your suitable-for-framing travel photos online. If you enjoy driving around on weekends, you might sign up with a ride-sharing app. Love animals? Consider starting a dog-walking service.

If you don’t have time to take on additional work, you might sell items you own that are in good condition but you no longer need. There are dozens of places to sell your stuff: For clothes, try a local second-hand store near you, such as Crossroads or Buffalo Exchange. For furniture and other goods, try listing on eBay, Etsy (yes, it’s for more than crafts), Facebook Marketplace, or Nextdoor.

7. Reframe Your Financial Stress

Changing the way you think about financial stress can help manage anxiety. Instead of viewing financial challenges as insurmountable obstacles, try to see them as opportunities for growth and learning. Focus on the progress you’ve made rather than the setbacks. Practicing gratitude for what you have and acknowledging your efforts can shift your mindset and reduce anxiety.

It can also be helpful to talk to those close to you. Let them know you are dealing with financial stress, and ask how they manage theirs. Talking about your worries can help put them into perspective. And in addition to getting reassurance and comfort, you may learn some new strategies.

Getting Help for Your Financial Anxiety

If you’re having trouble sorting out your finances and managing your anxiety on your own, it can be worthwhile to seek outside help.

For practical solutions to money issues, you might seek out a financial advisor. These professionals can offer advice on savings, investments, and retirement planning tailored to your financial situation, helping you develop a strategy to achieve your financial goals.

If your money anxiety is more deeply rooted or affecting your mental or physical health, you might want to consult a mental health professional, such as a psychologist, social worker, or financial therapist. These professionals can help you understand and work through the emotional aspects of your money worries and provide you with coping mechanisms to manage stress.

The Takeaway

Money worries can get the best of us, especially in challenging times, such as when inflation and interest rates are high and there’s talk of a potential downturn in the economy.

To manage financial stress, it’s wise to take steps to improve your cash situation — say, by budgeting, building up an emergency fund, and lowering high-interest debt. It’s also a good idea to work on your emotional wellness by tackling one problem at a time, avoiding temptation and the subsequent guilt, seeking support from those close to you and, if necessary, enlisting the help of a financial or mental health professional.

Interested in opening an online bank account? When you sign up for a SoFi Checking and Savings account with direct deposit, you’ll get a competitive annual percentage yield (APY), pay zero account fees, and enjoy an array of rewards, such as access to the Allpoint Network of 55,000+ fee-free ATMs globally. Qualifying accounts can even access their paycheck up to two days early.

Better banking is here with SoFi, NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Checking Account Overall.* Enjoy up to 4.60% APY on SoFi Checking and Savings.


How do you stop being financially anxious?

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce financial anxiety. If you’re worried about debt or lack of savings, for example, you might want to assess and categorize your spending over the last several months, then look for places to cut back. Any money you free up can be redirected toward paying more than the minimum on your debts and/or building your savings.

Other ways to stop feeling financially anxious include: building an emergency fund (this provides a safety net for unexpected expenses); seeking advice from a financial advisor to develop a long-term plan; and practicing stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, exercise, and adequate sleep.

Why do you get anxious about money?

Financial anxiety can stem from a number of factors, including:

•   A lack of control or understanding of your financial situation

•   Job insecurity

•   Inflation

•   Unexpected expenses

•   Insufficient savings

•   Cultural and societal pressures (i.e., the expectation to maintain a certain lifestyle)

•   Past financial mistakes or trauma

How do you stop obsessing about money?

You might start by setting some clear financial goals, and then creating a realistic monthly budget that can help you achieve those goals. This can reduce financial worries — and help you stop obsessing about money — by giving you a greater sense of direction and control.

Other ways spend less time thinking about money include:

•   Automating savings and bill payments.

•   Limiting the amount of time you spend reviewing your accounts to once or twice a month.

•   Engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy and distract you from financial worries or temptations to spend money.

•   Seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist if money worries persist.

•   Educating yourself about personal finance to build confidence and reduce fear stemming from the unknown.

SoFi members with direct deposit activity can earn 4.60% annual percentage yield (APY) on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Direct Deposit means a recurring deposit of regular income to an account holder’s SoFi Checking or Savings account, including payroll, pension, or government benefit payments (e.g., Social Security), made by the account holder’s employer, payroll or benefits provider or government agency (“Direct Deposit”) via the Automated Clearing House (“ACH”) Network during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Deposits that are not from an employer or government agency, including but not limited to check deposits, peer-to-peer transfers (e.g., transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc.), merchant transactions (e.g., transactions from PayPal, Stripe, Square, etc.), and bank ACH funds transfers and wire transfers from external accounts, or are non-recurring in nature (e.g., IRS tax refunds), do not constitute Direct Deposit activity. There is no minimum Direct Deposit amount required to qualify for the stated interest rate.

As an alternative to direct deposit, SoFi members with Qualifying Deposits can earn 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances. Qualifying Deposits means one or more deposits that, in the aggregate, are equal to or greater than $5,000 to an account holder’s SoFi Checking and Savings account (“Qualifying Deposits”) during a 30-day Evaluation Period (as defined below). Qualifying Deposits only include those deposits from the following eligible sources: (i) ACH transfers, (ii) inbound wire transfers, (iii) peer-to-peer transfers (i.e., external transfers from PayPal, Venmo, etc. and internal peer-to-peer transfers from a SoFi account belonging to another account holder), (iv) check deposits, (v) instant funding to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, (vi) push payments to your SoFi Bank Debit Card, and (vii) cash deposits. Qualifying Deposits do not include: (i) transfers between an account holder’s Checking account, Savings account, and/or Vaults; (ii) interest payments; (iii) bonuses issued by SoFi Bank or its affiliates; or (iv) credits, reversals, and refunds from SoFi Bank, N.A. (“SoFi Bank”) or from a merchant.

SoFi Bank shall, in its sole discretion, assess each account holder’s Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits throughout each 30-Day Evaluation Period to determine the applicability of rates and may request additional documentation for verification of eligibility. The 30-Day Evaluation Period refers to the “Start Date” and “End Date” set forth on the APY Details page of your account, which comprises a period of 30 calendar days (the “30-Day Evaluation Period”). You can access the APY Details page at any time by logging into your SoFi account on the SoFi mobile app or SoFi website and selecting either (i) Banking > Savings > Current APY or (ii) Banking > Checking > Current APY. Upon receiving a Direct Deposit or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits to your account, you will begin earning 4.60% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% on checking balances on or before the following calendar day. You will continue to earn these APYs for (i) the remainder of the current 30-Day Evaluation Period and through the end of the subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period and (ii) any following 30-day Evaluation Periods during which SoFi Bank determines you to have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits without interruption.

SoFi Bank reserves the right to grant a grace period to account holders following a change in Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits activity before adjusting rates. If SoFi Bank grants you a grace period, the dates for such grace period will be reflected on the APY Details page of your account. If SoFi Bank determines that you did not have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits during the current 30-day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, then you will begin earning the rates earned by account holders without either Direct Deposit or Qualifying Deposits until you have Direct Deposit activity or $5,000 in Qualifying Deposits in a subsequent 30-Day Evaluation Period. For the avoidance of doubt, an account holder with both Direct Deposit activity and Qualifying Deposits will earn the rates earned by account holders with Direct Deposit.

Members without either Direct Deposit activity or Qualifying Deposits, as determined by SoFi Bank, during a 30-Day Evaluation Period and, if applicable, the grace period, will earn 1.20% APY on savings balances (including Vaults) and 0.50% APY on checking balances.

Interest rates are variable and subject to change at any time. These rates are current as of 10/24/2023. There is no minimum balance requirement. Additional information can be found at https://www.sofi.com/legal/banking-rate-sheet.

SoFi® Checking and Savings is offered through SoFi Bank, N.A. ©2023 SoFi Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
The SoFi Bank Debit Mastercard® is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A., pursuant to license by Mastercard International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

*Awards or rankings from NerdWallet are not indicative of future success or results. This award and its ratings are independently determined and awarded by their respective publications.

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.


TLS 1.2 Encrypted
Equal Housing Lender