I’m Meredith Canaan, and I am your host and business coach helping you out with some tips today. Today we are talking about how to manage financial anxiety.

So we have anxiety in my family. It’s something that we’re just kind of newly discovering. You have to kind of understand the difference between actual worry and actual anxiety which is perceived as real fear. Anxiety really is fear and worry. And the thing that you really want to understand when you’re talking about financial anxiety, the first question:

Is it real? Or is it perceived stress? 

Anxiety and stress can be different.

What happens? I am not a psychologist or an expert in this area. So please, this is just kind of my general understanding as somebody who has family members dealing with anxiety and kind of unpacking the different levels of it. So one of the things that happens with people who have anxiety is that they’re the level at which the stress is occurring is a different perception.

What Anxiety Can Feel Like

So something may feel like there is a tiger about to eat me in the face and your body goes into fight or flight or flee mode when you’re in a high stress situation. You kind of stop using your higher thinking. 

So one of the things that we have in my family, something that we say is that logic and anxiety, they don’t speak the same language. So if somebody is having an actual panic attack and an anxiety attack, you can’t actually speak logic to them in the midst of that attack. 

So when it comes to financial stress or anxiety, if you have this kind of constant sense of, “I can’t” and worry you can’t be in that higher level of creative thinking.

If you’ve got that anxiety and stress, just kind of constantly pushing down on you. So one of the things that I really want you to check into is we all have a comfort zone. This is our level at which our comfort zone is in terms of how much money is in the bank. What kind of cushion that we have. Somebody could have like high financial anxiety and still have a hundred thousand dollars of a cushion in the bank. It’s at a different level for everyone. 

It’s getting to that line. That’s where their stress point hits, who knows they could have a huge sense of bills and all of these things that weigh down on them. So it’s not necessarily about the actual money. The thing I want you to understand is, to check in with your anxiety and try to figure it out.

Is it a real situation or is it perceived stress?

Do you actually have enough money in your bank account to cover your necessities, food, clothing, shelter, et cetera, maybe the internet. So you can keep working with clients in your business. That’s for you to understand and to understand and determine where that stress level is for you. 

Is there a certain number of how much money is in the bank account that kicks your anxiety into gear? Then you’re like, “Oh my goodness, I have to hustle and get a new client now. And I have to do this right now, or I have to.” 

What to Do When You Truly Feel Financial Anxiety or Stress

So one thing I want you to check out is, do you really have, is it really hot and urgent? So then the question is, if it’s real, if the stress is there, what of it is urgent that you need to handle now? 

Again, if you’re in that high stress mode, you may or may not have your logical brain functioning. Because the stressors are running. So you can’t think clearly. So the thing I want you to start thinking about is, if it’s urgent, what are the actions you can take? 

Getting Out of Financial Anxiety Moment

So the next question for you to look at is if you can get out of the upset, out of the anxiety back to a sense of calm. So something triggers your anxiety or upset. And so think of it like I’m a ceiling fan. So all of a sudden your fan is spinning and you can’t think straight, and I’ll be honest with you. You can’t think straight until the emotions, the high energy of it, calms down and you have that sense back in your brain. There are no clear thoughts until you get the fan to stop spinning.

Once your fan has stopped spinning, the next question to ask is, “What actions can I take to prevent stress or to feel and create peace?” Because the thing about managing financial anxiety is understanding where those points are that trigger the anxiety that trigger the stress and that trigger the panic attacks. And is it a real trigger in terms of that something actually is urgent and needs to happen.

Or is it just that that’s where your system goes? The minute you see something on your bank account, or the minute you get a bill for X number of dollars. 

Create Your Financial Anxiety Action Plan

So then when you’re back in the calm, happy, peaceful place and a high way of thinking, the next step is to create the action plans. Figure out where you need to have and what you need to have in place to create that peace.

For some people, it is to have maybe an emergency credit card that you have hidden in the refrigerator. I heard people say that they actually freeze it in the freezer so they can only use it for an emergency. So that maybe if you have to go and pay for something and you don’t want to be in debt, that you do have space or debt that you can use.

Another thing is a stash of cash somewhere, or to just really create that cushion in your bank account. Part of that is to figure out what is your “new zero”. What is that zero point in which you hit where you can still feel safe and comfortable. 

So part of it is wanting to create one. If you’re somebody who lets your bank account get down to, “Oh my goodness. I only have a hundred bucks in the bank account. My next thing that comes through that I might not be paying attention to is going to put me in the negative and cause those fees to hit.” 

What’s the new zero? What’s the new cushion that will keep you from having that stress? What are the actions that you can take so that you don’t have stress? 

It’s one of the reasons I like recurring revenue. I always know, I have a certain amount of money coming in every month and I can count on it. It’s got stability and peace to it. So it keeps me from having a high level of stress. But if all of my one-to-one clients say, “Hey, I’m outta here.” Especially if they all go at once. Then I might have a higher level of stress.

Setting Financial Goals to Decrease Stress

One of the things that people often say is a great goal to reach in your business or in your life, is to have a cushion or a backup of six months of expenses. Now whether that’s six months of expenses in CDs or another savings format is your choice.

I like to keep my money so that I don’t see it. So I have it in CDs. I have it in things I can’t spend unless I really have to. And it’s going to hurt a little bit. If I want to get it out, I’m gonna lose money on my investments. But there is also security because it is still there if I have to pull it out for an emergency.

So part of that is figuring out what that set point is. If you have a current set point and you’re willing to stretch yourself, what would be the next level of cushion that you want to keep in your bank account to keep that financial stress away. 

The other is, and we talked about, you can tell that we’re in money. Money, energy. 

We’ve been talking about this month because that’s what we’re talking about inside the membership. So my question is how often are you having a playdate, coffee time with your business bestie money. The more you have your attention on your finances, the more you have an idea of what comes, what goes and how much that cushion is. 

If you get a surprise bill or an emergency and somebody has to go to the hospital or the washing machine breaks, apparently it’s a washing machine and dryer breakage in my parents’ house one broke. Being prepared with that cushion will let you continue to breathe easy and not stress.

You Can Overcome Financial Anxiety

So just to recap, some of the simple things to figure out:

  • Is it real or is it perceived? 
  • Is there really an issue when the stress kicks in?
  • What is the trigger point that sets off your anxiety?

Because whether it’s you, a partner, or a friend trying to have a logical conversation with you. Logic and anxiety, don’t talk to each other. They don’t speak the same language. You can’t out logic an anxiety attack. At least that’s what we’ve learned in our family. And so again, is it real or is it perceived? And if it’s real, what of it is urgent that needs to happen now?

Of course the last one, which for some reason, is what is the action step that you can take to create peace? Because again, we’re talking about anxiety, we’re talking about financial stress. So some of those things are looking at if there’s a trigger point, a number in the bank account and an amount or something that makes you freak, how can you create a cushion? At least that’s what my husband calls it. I’m sure if there’s a better name for it, but I just always imagine it’s like, it’s something that you can fall back on if you don’t. 

So what are some of the actions that you can create to help give you that space?

Do you hide the money in the tallest bag or under the cushions of the mattress or hide a credit card, apply for a credit card that you can have access to that you hide in the freezer or somewhere else. I mean, these are some of the things that people talk about so that you can at least mitigate stress because stress is all about where you don’t feel safe.

And so the idea is how do we create safety. How do we create peace in the area of our finances? So those are some of my tips. 

See where your bank account lives. Again, this is a concept I learned from Denise Duffield Thomas in terms of this zero set point – creating your personal “new zero”. 

What’s that number that it always gets to, or the number at which you freak out at. Then see if you can raise it. Raise the financial thermostat, raise that to a new number. So maybe if it’s a hundred bucks, it never goes below a hundred. Maybe the next thing is it never goes below 500 or a thousand or 5,000 or 10,000. So that’s where you want to start creating it. 

Creating Space for Spenders

The next practice I would say to take on is once you start having that money, that savings is to also put it away. So if you’re a big spender, I used to be a hardcore spender. Spenders have a mentality of “I have all the money and I should spend it right now.” That’s the habit that we want to break. And so that’s why I put, when I get those little extra bits of money, I put them into an account somewhere else. It’s not in my regular bank account, whether it’s a CD or some type of investment that I can’t touch for a few months.

I like CDs because they don’t necessarily give you a lot of interest, but at least it’s something. It gives me time so that I get to really think about whether or not I want to crack  into for an emergency.

I think most Americans, I don’t know about most everybody in the world, but I think we live with a certain level of underlying stress. You know, most Americans live paycheck to paycheck, job to job.

I think our mission is to all become millionaires. Rachel Rogers is writing, her book just came out. She wrote that we should all be millionaires. I’m currently reading it.

Money is interesting. It provides us with access to help, to make change in the world, to take care of us, our kids, our next generations. And so my guess is some of you guys are here, you’re entrepreneurs or people who really want to have your finances, not be an issue again, because if it’s in that underlying level of stress, you’re not in your higher creative genius brain. 

The alligator limbic system takes over. You need to have your vagus nerve in the sense of calm and peace. So you can be brilliant and creative. That really is why financial stability and security is such an important thing, especially for my creatives. 

And I think most of you guys are creative. Creative, spiritual, any of those things when you’re in that zone. “I have to, or I need to”, because that stress keeps us from having this spaciousness. The spaciousness in our thoughts, the spaciousness in our being to really let divine messages and creativity flow. 

When you have a community of people who are willing to help out, but a lot of us don’t have that backup plan. And so you got to start really creating it for yourself.