15 million stress about money every day

stressed womanPA

How would you rate your level of stress today? A week with the extended family, a week of Christmas specials on TV... it was likely to be fairly high before you even got out of bed.

There's every chance that you can't risk thinking about money at a time like this, because a new survey says that financial worries are the biggest cause of stress in UK households.

Biggest stresses

The survey from MoneySupermarket, found that of those who feel stress on a daily basis, a quarter (23 per cent) say their future financial situation is the main cause, followed by health (22 per cent) and current personal finances (21 per cent). Meanwhile 20% were stressed about their jobs. This means a combined total of more than two thirds of people have some sort of financial worry at the heart of their daily stresses and strains.

This compares to just one in ten who are stressed about their relationship with their partner or family.

Getting worse

And things are getting worse. Some 76 per cent say their financial stresses will increase next year - the majority blaming the rising cost of living. Seven per cent think a squeeze on their benefits next year would cause an increase in their financial stress, while six per cent are worried about mortgage repayments if the Bank of England Base Rate increases next year.

Deal with it

The answer, of course, is to take it in hand. We need to deal with these things that are causing us so much anxiety on a daily basis. Kevin Mountford, Head of Banking at MoneySupermarket, said: "If you are in a position where you are worrying about your finances you should do everything possible to try and relieve this - there are ways to take control of your finances and reduce the worry they can cause."

Deep down we know this. Overall, nearly half of Brits (46 per cent) think they could take better care of their finances.

Overcome hurdles

Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Nearly one in three (29 per cent) simply can't be bothered spending the time to research the best options, and 18 per cent blame lack of time as a factor stopping them taking control and sorting out their finances. A further 18 per cent do not understand their finances or know what the best options are for their needs. When asked how long it took before they got bored or frustrated with their finances, 16 per cent said it was within the first ten minutes.

The only solution is to break it down into bite-sized chunks. Anyone who sets aside a day to do everything will doubtless fail. However, if you can bring yourself to spend 15 montages a day for a couple of weeks, you are far more likely to succeed.

Break up the things you are worried about: whether it's debt, credit cards, bills, the mortgage, or anything else. Then get yourself online and search out the alternatives. If you come across a hurdle, then set aside another 15 minutes tomorrow to overcoming it in a different way, whether that's through a debt charity, a financial adviser, or a call to your provider. When you get frustrated, stop, and start up again tomorrow.

No-one says you have to do everything all at once, you just have to take your time and make sure you get it all done.

I'm not pretending there won't be stresses for the fortnight, but when it's done, it's done, and there will no longer be a dark cloud threatening your New Year.
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