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How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

Tax filing options to consider

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Celebrating Valentine's Day on a budget

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Strategies for Financially Surviving the Holidays

Creating a fun and memorable holiday on a budget

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

Tax Refund Delays for some in 2017

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Setting New Year's goals that you can keep

Making the holidays memorable for families on a tight budget.

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

Should Consumers Use the New EMV Cards?

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

What do I need to know to pay ahead on my mortgage?

What to do if you get an unsolicited credit card in the mail

What to do when moving in to share expenses doesn't work out

Stressed by Finances

Q. I’m so stressed about my finances that I don’t know what to do. I’m getting phone calls from people wanting money, and I can’t pay them. I worry so much about money that am losing sleep, and then I’m tired at work and make stupid mistakes. I cannot afford to lose my job. I need to do something, but I don’t know what. Can you help?

A. As you already know, financial stress can be debilitating. A 2016 study conducted by Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company revealed that 85% of people deal with financial anxiety. Twenty-eight percent of those surveyed report that they worry about their finances daily. And a whopping 67% reported that their financial anxiety affects their health.  

Emerging research reflects just how detrimental financial worries can be to a person’s health. A poll conducted by the Associated Press and AOL found that people with high financial stress had higher rates of ulcers and other digestive tract disorders. They also reported more migraines, were more likely to suffer from muscle tension, including chronic low back pain, and were more likely to struggle with depression. Another study from the Journal of Research and Aging even revealed that financial stress hastens the aging process more than any other kind of stress.

Financial stress can takes a serious toll on every aspect of your life. And while it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and to let fear paralyze you, nothing in your financial situation will improve until you address your problems head on. In fact, ignoring the problem will only make matters worse. 

I wish I could offer you a one-size-fits-all solution, but your situation, like every household, is unique. The size of your family, your current income and debts, and the value of your assets, will all play a part in helping you find a workable course of action.  What’s more, the extent of your financial problems—what you owe, the kind of debts you have, whether you are delinquent on them and how far delinquent you are—will help to determine what steps you need to take.

For these reasons, you need a personalized analysis and action plan to help you resolve your financial struggles. Making an appointment with a certified counselor at a non-profit accredited credit counseling agency is one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. That’s because a good certified counselor can look at your whole financial picture and then provide you with options that will fit your situation.  
Some people are hesitant to open up about their financial problems, but when you feel the weight of financial stress, it is often difficult to look at your situation objectively. A credit counselor can offer objectivity and can sometimes offer you options that you didn’t know existed. And since counseling is normally provided at no charge, you have nothing to lose by making an appointment.

Your health, your livelihood and even your relationships are bearing the burden of your current financial problems, but you don’t have to live with constant worry and stress. With the right help, you can create a personalized plan to address your financial issues and to restore peace in your life.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email acce@acce-online.com.

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.