Client outcomes

Supporting clients through money anxiety

January 19, 2023
Man and woman sitting on a couch looking at a computer

Key Takeaways:

  • According to data from the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Healthy Minds Monthly Poll—59% of respondents said they were anxious about their personal finances.
  • To deal with money anxiety, the APA suggests you “pause but not panic,” identify specific stressors and make a plan, recognize how you deal with anxiety, turn challenging times into opportunity, and ask for support from a mental health professional.

Something that’s likely on your clients’ minds this year: inflation and the state of the economy. With the annual reading for 2024 rounding out at 3.5%1, we’re seeing inflation that’s high, but still not as jarring as 2021 and 2022. According to data from the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) Healthy Minds Monthly Poll, which included a question each month from June through December on how anxious Americans felt about a list of trending current events, personal finances were a continued source of anxiety for Americans in December of 2023—specifically 59% of respondents said they were anxious about their personal finances.2

This anxiety about the economy and finances can impact the way people feel about their retirement savings and investments—as a financial professional, it can help to listen to concerns, encourage your clients to stay the course with investments and not make any rash decisions, and let them know that they can always turn to a mental health professional for additional help.

Tips for managing money anxiety

It can be a helpful reminder for anxious clients that the economy is not under their control. But what is? Their financial choices and their own mental health. Being there for your clients through tough financial times can help build trust, and you can help them address money anxiety with these tips from the APA3:

  1. “Pause, but don’t panic” – There can be a lot of anxiety associated with the amount of (usually negative) information we take in daily, through various sources like the news and social media. It can benefit you to pay attention, but not get too caught up in the negativity. Avoiding the tendency to overreact or become passive can help you remain calm and focused.
  2. “Identify your financial stressors and make a plan” – What are you most concerned about when it comes to your financial health? Investing in a volatile market? Finding the right amount to invest when money is being routed to other necessities due to inflation? Identifying your personal stressors can make it easier to plan for and tackle your anxieties.
  3. “Recognize how stress affects how you deal with money” – In tough economic times, some people turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms like smoking, drinking, gambling, or emotional eating. It’s important for watch out for these behaviors, as they can worsen over time.
  4. “Turn challenging times into opportunity for growth” – Stressful times can present the opportunity for growth. Economic challenges can be turned into opportunities for healthier ways of living and managing your life. Besides just reducing financial anxiety, finding new hobbies to manage stress can help you become a healthier person in general.
  5. “Ask for professional support” – Beyond speaking with a trusted financial professional, a psychologist can help you address the emotions behind your financial worries, manage stress, and avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms.