Young professionals are under a lot of stress. So much so, a recent study revealed that those between 18 and 25-years old spend more than six hours a day being ‘stressed out’. And the thing they’re worried about the most? Finances, of course.
While young professionals have to worry about big — and unavoidable — financial stressors like student loan debt and savings, they also tend to take on unnecessary stressors as they learn to navigate their finances and careers. Here, you’ll find some of the most common stressors young professionals deal with, and how to eliminate them all together.
- Not Having a BudgetMaking a budget might sound stressful, but it’s arguably the best way to manage your financial health. Especially if you’re living month to month, not having a budget can cause you to overspend or begin relying on risky habits like racking up a large credit card bill — we’ll get to that in a second.
How to eliminate it: Make a budget that outlines what you have coming in, covers your recurring expenses, accounts for upcoming expected expenses and any purchases you’re going to need to make in the near future — like a hotel for a friends wedding or a plane ticket home for the holidays. If you can see what you have to work with clearly every month, you can easily eliminate the stress of having to worry if your next ‘swipe’ is going to be declined.
- Credit Card Debt. 21-percent of people between 18 and 29 have more credit card debt than they do savings. It is, after all, much easier to spend money with a credit card swipe than it is to save modest amounts over time. In fact, a FICO study revealed 18 to 24-year-olds average a credit card debt of $2,000 — with 25 to 34-year olds having double that. Young professionals don’t need a credit card to survive. But often, they use a credit card to maintain a certain lifestyle. While you might be dressed well and eating great, if you’re not paying your credit card bill off every month it’s going to cause huge financial stress, impact your credit score and even affect your borrowing limit down the line.
How to eliminate it: If you can’t pay down your credit card in full every month, you shouldn’t have a credit card. Credit cards can be a great resource to help you get along month to month, build a credit score and even earn points on big purchases. But, it needs to be within your monthly budget and means. If you have credit card debt you should…
- Stop spending. Cut up your card and focus on paying down your debt.
- Cut back on unnecessary purchases.
- Look at your budget and figure out how you can pay more than the minimum. If you owe just $2,000 on a credit card with a 15.76% rate, it’s going to take more than ten years to pay it off with the minimum payments. In the end, you’d also pay an extra $1,330 in interest.
- Not accounting for micro-purchasesAfter reading that last section you might be saying to yourself, ‘I don’t fund a lifestyle above my means.’ But chances are, you’re all too familiar with the stress and dread of looking over your statement at the end of the month and wondering where your money went.
Every coffee you buy on the way to work, lunch you order because you were running late, and app you purchase add up. These micro-purchases are so small you might not even think to add them to your monthly budget — and that’s why something so small is causing you such huge stress.
How to eliminate it: Take away the element of surprise and study your micro-purchasing habits.
- If you know that you like to buy a $3.50 cappuccino on your commute, budget that extra $70 a month.
- If you’re the kind of person who finds micro-purchases hard to account for, give yourself a miscellaneous fund. Setting aside $50 in your budget for days you’re running late and can’t brew coffee at home will alleviate the stress of finding those funds at the end of the month.