We’ve all experienced stress at some point in our lives, and it might help you to know that April is National Stress Awareness Month. This month brings attention to not only the negative psychological impacts of stress, but the harmful physical impacts as well. Knowing how to manage your stress levels will help you live longer and healthier. 

So, what are Americans so stressed about? Luckily, there have been quite a few studies on the causes of stress among the U.S. population. Firstly, according to the American Psychological Association, 44% of Americans say they experience “moderate to high” levels of stress on a daily basis.

NBC News found that 87% of those surveyed who reported stress cited, as of 2022, the rising cost in living. As we all know, the costs of everything from groceries to gas is higher, and it’s no wonder that we are, as the news outlet put it, “besieged by stress.”

Dealing With Financial Stress

These are trying times, to say the least, and you can deal with financial stress through smart planning, consulting with financial professionals (if possible), and talking to lenders. The symptoms of financial stress include:

· Difficulty sleeping

· Feeling fearful

· “Snapping” and getting angry more quickly than usual

· Arguing with loved ones about money

· Withdrawing from other people

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is important to talk to someone, as you are not alone. Literally, millions of Americans are going through the same thing. According to Bankrate, you can manage financial stress by:

· Prioritizing what you can control

· Accepting what you cannot control

· Finding secondary streams of income

· Paying essential bills first

· Saving money, if possible (even $10 a month still counts!)

· Tracking your progress in bill-paying

· Having an honest discussion with lenders (don’t just ignore them)

· Being open with loved ones about your financial situation

In addition to these helpful techniques to manage stress, you can also consider estate planning. Though estate planning does involve its own expenses, it is actually one of your best allies in the fight against financial stress.

Estate Planning: How It Helps Financial Stress

Estate planning is a way to determine how your assets will be distributed after you die. There are other essential tools to estate planning too, including documents that manage guardianship, healthcare decisions, protection of assets, and more. Here are some of the ways that estate planning aids in the fight against financial stress:

· You can legally minimize gift, income, and estate taxes

· You can avoid probate court

· Feel in control of your future

· Your assets will go to the right people

· You can plan for end-of-life healthcare

· You can plan for future financial investments and trusts

As you can see, there is a lot of mention of the “future” in estate planning. Most of us are worried about the future—will prices keep rising? What if something bad happens and we can’t cover the expense? The beauty of estate planning is that it helps you get your financial affairs in order, providing a sense of stability and security. Though it is not a cure-all, we all know that every strategy helps in the fight against financial panic.

Hopefully, what you took from this article, in addition to the fact that estate planning can help you breathe easier, is that you are not alone. Everyone is anxiously checking their bank accounts, wincing when they see bills, and having tough conversations with creditors. We’re going through a rough time right now, but, as with every single other rough time in American history, we’re going to get through it together. 

Contact a WFP estate planning attorney today to learn how estate planning can help prepare you for the future.