According to a survey by the American Psychological Association, women worry more about their financial security than men. Almost a third of the women surveyed said they worry about finances all the time. And more than half experience stress just trying to make ends meet, often fearing they’ll lose all of their money and becoming homeless.
This anxiety over finances is common enough among women across all age groups and socioeconomic status that it has been labeled “bag lady syndrome.” It is the fear of running out of money, losing your home and ending up destitute, alone and living on the streets. It is debilitating enough to impact mental and physical well-being and can strain relationships.
And, surprisingly? Just making more money doesn’t solve the problem.
5 Ways to Combat Bag Lady Syndrome
When stressed or afraid, people tend to make poor decisions or may even avoid making decisions altogether. Here are some things you can do to manage financial stress:
1. Take Action
Even small steps like budgeting, cutting back on spending, boosting the amount you save each month and doing annual fiscal reviews can help you feel in control – and it’s good for your finances, too!
2. Take Care of What’s Important to You
Don’t wait for someone else to get your estate plan in order. It’s easy to defer to someone else in money matters, but it’s all about your future security, so don’t hesitate to jump in and begin the process. Becoming an active, knowing participant in making informed decisions on your own behalf can help you feel secure.
3. Avoid Regrets
Do you know what your tolerance for risk is? Being cautious is smart in money matters, but being overly conservative because of fears you might lose it all can leave you with regrets. Are you an aggressive saver who feels guilty about spending on yourself? A good balance of spending and saving can alleviate stress and build confidence. Give yourself permission to take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about.
4. Reach Out To Those In the Know
Your financial life may become a bit more complicated as you get older as a result of an inheritance, a divorce, a significant raise, or sale of a home. If you aren’t sure what to do on your own and you find yourself procrastinating making financial decisions, a financial advisor, accountant, supportive family or friends can help support you in managing your finances. Just be sure you your financial strategy matches with your life goals.
5. Remember That Connections Matter
Maintaining relationships may be challenging in a busy world. Family, friends and professional networks go a long way to making you feel safe and in control of your world. So, fill and prioritize your social calendar! Two to three times a week for get-togethers will deepen your connections and provide security especially if you should need support during unexpected surprises such as a job loss.
Don’t let “Bag Lady Syndrome” weigh on your wallet and mental health – take these steps today to keep your finances and overall wellbeing in tip-top shape.
Combat Bag Lady Syndrome with Clarity
Ready to get your money in order? Click here to connect with a Clarity team member today – we’d be happy to help!