If you’re financially stressed out these days, you’re far from alone. These are rocky and uncertain times we’re living in, and the stress level is super high.
A number of recent surveys have confirmed that Americans are financially frazzled right now.
For example, a survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education found that a whopping nine in 10 Americans say the COVID-19 crisis is causing stress on their personal finances. Most worry about not having enough saved, or not being able to pay bills.
A survey by John Hancock Financial found that nearly a quarter of Americans have dipped into their emergency savings during the pandemic.
Surveys are finding the main sources of financial stress. We’ve got strategies for tackling them all:
1. Fear of the Uncertain Future
Are you worried about losing your job? Nervous about what’s going to happen next? That’s why it’s crucial to have an emergency fund as backup — just in case.
An emergency fund is a stash of easily accessible money that equals three to six months’ worth of salary, in case you unexpectedly lose your job. And millions of us unexpectedly lost our jobs in 2020.
With the Aspiration Spend account, you can earn up to 5% cash back on your debit card purchases. With the Aspiration Save account (where you can funnel your tax refund), you can earn up to 20 times the average interest on your savings balance. (The FDIC reports that the average account earns just .05%.)
It takes five minutes to sign up.
2. Fear of Falling Behind on Credit Card Debt
The pandemic and its shutdowns and its job losses have forced more Americans to fall back on their credit cards to pay their bills and pay for necessities like food. For those who are still struggling, managing credit card debt is a huge source of stress.
Could you imagine waking up with no credit card debt? Whether you’re stressed about being in debt forever or you’re just sick of the high interest rates, this would be a huge relief.
But a website called Fiona can help you wipe out your credit card debt even faster.
They’ll match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every credit card balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
All that credit card debt — and the anxiety that comes with it — could be gone by tomorrow.
3. Fear of Death and Leaving Your Family in a Bind
There’s been a surge of interest in life insurance during the pandemic, as more Americans are realizing they probably need it.
Overall, Americans purchased about 10% more life insurance policies in 2020 than they did in 2019. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s actually the biggest increase in nearly two decades.
Also, more people are seeking out no-exam life insurance because they don’t want to go to a doctor’s office for an in-person exam. Companies like Bestow use algorithms instead of medical exams to evaluate applicants.
Rates start at just $16 a month. You could leave your family up to $1 million. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without leaving your home, get a free quote from Bestow.
4. One More Way Not to Leave Your Family in a Bind
Another way to financially take care of your family is to invest. Investing is how you build generational wealth.
If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, you’re not alone. But guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $200!) if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He is not incredibly stressed at all, no sir, why would you even think that?