Don't let fear and anxiety ruin your financial life. These strategies can help you stay on track
Chassity Jackson is worried about her financial future.
While the 42-year-old Air Force veteran is financially secure now, that wasn't always the case.
Two years ago, she was living in a car with her 11-year-old son, suffering from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"I didn't know where my next meal was coming from," said Jackson, who lives in Destin, Florida.
"Finances were very sparse," she added. "That is terrifying as a mom."
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She's now a part-time graduate student, president of Boots on the Ground International Ministries, which helps children and homeless veterans, and has her own fashion company, Battle Beauties Fashion.
"I'm in a good place but I also have a residue of anxiety because I don't want to revisit that trauma ever again," said Jackson, who is combat-disabled.
While past trauma can certainly impact one's current financial mental health, recognizing that there is something making Jackson feel anxious is a great step, said licensed marriage and family therapist Dr. George James, chief innovation officer and senior staff therapist at the non-profit Council for Relationships.
"Sometimes we are on autopilot and we don't even recognize we are making financial decisions because of some past injury or pain," he said.
There are any number of reasons people may be feeling anxious or stressed. The Covid-19 pandemic is a big one for many. Just over 40% of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder during the crisis, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
When there are money issues, it can certainly have an impact on your mental health, according to James, a member of the CNBC Invest In You Financial Wellness Council.
"Money does connect to security and when there is a possible something that could take away our money, like the Covid pandemic, it does take away our security," he said.
Take steps to try to make yourself feel more secure, like reevaluating your retirement plan, reducing your spending or talking with a financial advisor.
Also take time for self-care.
"If we are so stressed or so overwhelmed or so tired or our state of mind isn't at its best, we sometimes can make bad financial decisions," James said.
He suggests taking a beat before making any decisions so you can really think through whether it is the right move to make.
Of course, it's hard to be completely stress-free. The key is to find ways to de-stress amid the stress, he said.
"Take a deep breath," James said. "Take a walk.
"Have people you can talk to, so you can beat the stress."
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On Sept. 9, CNBC + Acorns Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow. will help remove the stigma of discussing financial anxiety and provide Americans direct access to financial and psychology experts who will answer their most pressing questions about handling their money stress and achieving financial well-being.
Invest in You: Mind Over Money will stream on CNBC's Facebook page on Thursday, Sept. 9 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET.
To register for this free, virtual event, go to cnbc.com/mindovermoneyevent.
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