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Seven tips to manage financial stress

Managing financial stress

In today's economic environment, financial stress has become an even more significant concern for individuals and families. Financial stress is commonly cited as the No.1 stressor in the majority of relationships.

To gain deeper insights into this issue, FP Canada recently released its highly anticipated 2023 Financial Stress Index Report. This report offers valuable information and guidance for Canadians to adapt their finances and reduce the burden of financial stress.

Let’s take a look into key findings from the report and discuss strategies individuals can implement to alleviate financial stress:

Understanding the Financial Stress Index Report: The Financial Stress Index Report examines various factors contributing to financial stress among Canadians. It highlights that factors such as increasing debt levels, uncertain economic conditions, and limited financial literacy are leading causes of financial stress.

Additionally, the report points out the impact of unexpected life events, such as job loss, medical emergencies, or natural disasters, which further intensify financial strain.

To mitigate financial stress, Canadians should prioritize building financial resilience. This involves adopting sound financial practices and preparing for unforeseen circumstances.

Here are a few strategies to consider:

1. Budgeting and expense management: Start by creating a comprehensive budget that outlines income sources and expenses. Identify areas where you can reduce spending and develop a savings plan. By tracking expenses and adhering to a budget, you can gain better control over your finances and alleviate stress.

2. Creating an emergency fund: Establishing an emergency fund is crucial to handle unexpected expenses without relying on credit or loans. Aim to save three to six months' worth of living expenses. Consistently contribute to your emergency fund to provide a financial cushion during challenging times.

3. Debt management: High levels of debt contribute significantly to financial stress. Assess your debt situation and develop a plan to pay off outstanding balances strategically. Prioritize higher-interest debts and consider debt consolidation or negotiating lower interest rates. Seeking professional advice from a certified financial planner can help you create an effective debt management strategy.

4. Insurance coverage: Review your insurance policies to ensure adequate coverage for health, home, and automobile. Unexpected events can lead to significant financial setbacks, but the right insurance can mitigate the financial burden associated with such situations.

5. Financial Literacy and education: Enhance your financial literacy by staying informed about personal finance topics. Attend workshops, seminars, or webinars offered by reputable financial institutions or even enrol in a course through your local post-secondary institution. Equipping yourself with knowledge will enable better financial decision-making and reduce stress.

6. Seeking professional advice: Engaging the services of a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) professional can be immensely beneficial in navigating financial challenges. A CFP professional can help assess your financial situation, develop personalized strategies, and provide ongoing guidance to reduce stress and achieve your financial goals.

7. Mental well-being: Recognize that financial stress can take a toll on mental health. Prioritize self-care activities, maintain a support network, and seek professional help if needed. Taking care of your mental well-being is essential for making sound financial decisions and managing stress effectively.

Financial stress can significantly impact an individual's overall well-being and quality of life. The FP Canada 2023 Financial Stress Index Report sheds light on the factors contributing to financial stress among Canadians.

By adopting the strategies outlined in this article, individuals can build financial resilience, reduce stress, and regain control over their financial lives.

Remember, seeking professional advice and focusing on both financial and mental well-being are crucial components of financial stress reduction. With careful planning and proactive measures, Canadians can navigate through challenging times and achieve financial peace of mind.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Brett Millard is vice-president and a member of the executive leadership team at FP Canada, the national professional body for the financial planning industry. A not-for-profit organization, FP Canada works in the public interest to foster better financial health for all Canadians by leading the advancement of professional financial planning in Canada. 

He has worked in the financial advice industry for more than 15 years and is designated as a chartered investment manager (CIM) and is a certified financial planner (CFP).

He has written a weekly financial planning column since 2012 and provides his readers with easy to understand explanations of the complex financial challenges they face in every stage of life. Enhancing the financial literacy of Canadian consumers is a top priority for Brett and his ongoing efforts as a finance writer focus on that initiative. 

Please let Brett know if you have any topics you’d like him to cover in future columns ,or if you’d like a referral to a qualified CFP professional in your area, by emailing him at [email protected].


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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