If you turn on the evening news or read enough newspaper articles, you might feel like the sky is falling on you. Spoiler alert: Mankind has always believed the sky is falling. When outside forces are pushing you, it’s natural to feel anxious. The problem with anxiety, however, is that it can cloud your thoughts. Here, we cover five smart things you can do about your finances, even when your anxious mind is trying to convince you to do something else.

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1. Take a rhythm

We humans tend to make really horrible decisions in times of stress. Ask yourself the following question when stress strikes: “Am I about to do something rash because I’m anxious?”

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is do nothing. Suppose you have faithfully contributed to your retirement account for years, and as far as you can remember the account balance has climbed. The economy is going through a tough time and your account is suddenly losing thousands of dollars in value.

It would be foolhardy to sell everything, put your money in a savings account, and wait for the market to become “healthy” again.

Not only would it be reckless, it could cost you dearly. Investing in the stock market is like driving a feather duster. You feel every dip, twist and turn. If you focus on the movement you start to believe that it will surely crash every time the plane dives.

This is not the case. Investment values ​​rise and fall steadily. Watching every change can make you think you have to to do Something. Responding before you have had time to investigate can be costly.

2. Let your head take precedence over your heart

None of us like to peek through our wallets to find a sea of ​​red indicating recent losses. If we treat it emotionally, we are going to make mistakes. Here’s what to remember:

  • When the United States finds itself in a bear market (down 20% or more), it doesn’t necessarily mean the country is in a recession. This means the stock market is acting the way it always does – the economic equivalent of a roller coaster, with tons of ups and downs.
  • Even if we enter a recession (another natural event), the S&P 500 is likely to experience a dramatic rebound. Historically, a year after a recession, the S&P 500 has risen by more than 15%.

3. Avoid gut reactions

Would it take you a few years to recover the money lost during a difficult time? Absoutely. But while your investments are in a ditch, staying the course can pay off. This is because you can buy stocks cheaply if you keep investing.

If you can’t bear to stay completely inside, slowly come back until you feel more

comfortable. Based on historical highs and lows in the market, you will likely end up buying stocks when prices are low. If you can’t, however, focus on investing as much as you can and diversifying. That is, make sure that your investments are spread, that your portfolio includes different asset classes and sectors. As your mother may have said once or twice, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Without probing Pollyanna about it, losing money in the market is a way to determine how diversified you should be, what asset classes and sectors you are most comfortable buying and where you are. risk tolerance.

Consider any investment you make for the long term and don’t let the natural rhythm of ups and downs get you off course.

4. Be careful where you get your news

Stories of impending doom from a pessimistic uncle or Eeyore-like colleague can overwhelm you, even if you don’t notice it. Eventually, you absorb their negativity. This doesn’t mean you should ignore the signs of trouble ahead, but make sure the source of your financial news is reliable and proven.

Another great question to ask yourself before reacting to an anxiety-provoking financial situation is, “Am I doing this out of fear?” “

If fear is driving your behavior, it’s time to take control by gaining knowledge. And nothing against the pessimistic uncle or Eeyore-type coworker, but they’re unlikely to give you any legitimate advice (and Facebook posts don’t count).

Bringing in a professional – a financial planner who bills by the hour and doesn’t receive any commission for the products he sells – is a great place to start. After just one hour, you will probably find that you are on a much better path than you imagined. Even if you need to change your financial plans, you’ll likely leave the date knowing more than when you went.

5. Take breaks to take care of yourself

Concentrating on one thing for too long is unhealthy. No matter what is making you financially anxious, make a plan, stick to it, and set aside time to take care of yourself. For a person, this can mean more time to exercise. For another, it may be a phone call with a friend.

Financial anxiety is a part of life. It’s not always the investments that get us down. Sometimes it’s a job loss, an unexpected expense, a divorce, or a crushing debt. No matter what is keeping you awake at night, take back control by learning as much as possible, creating a plan that makes sense to you, and knowing that you are doing everything in your power to move in the right direction and invest money. the bank.