Financial Anxiety: Why Worry Despite Job and Savings?

Financial Anxiety: Why Worry Despite Job and Savings?

Financial anxiety is a pervasive issue affecting individuals across the globe, including in Australia. Despite having a secure income and a wealth pool, many people continue to grapple with this form of anxiety.

This blog aims to shed light on the general characteristics of financial anxiety, explore why it persists even among those with financial stability, and provide valuable tips for gaining relief and achieving financial peace of mind.

Understanding Financial Anxiety

Financial anxiety is a specific form of anxiety characterised by persistent worry, stress, and fear related to one’s financial situation. It can manifest in several ways, such as:

  • Constant Worry. Individuals with financial anxiety may find themselves constantly worrying about money, even when they have enough to cover their expenses. The worrying can even manifest in younger generations when the older set have found ways to set that aside and solve it. In November 2023, a generational evaluation by ASIC’s Moneysmart of Australians pointed out that 68 per cent of Aussie zoomers saw finances as a high concern. Eighty-two per cent of them admitted being hit with financial stress.    
  • Sleep Disturbances. Financial anxiety can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to insomnia or restless nights filled with money-related concerns.
  • Physical Symptoms. It often leads to physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and even digestive issues due to the stress it causes.
  • Avoidance Behaviour. Some people with financial anxiety may avoid addressing their financial issues, leading to a cycle of increased stress.
  • Irrational Fears. They may have irrational fears of financial catastrophe, despite evidence of financial stability.

Why Financial Anxiety Persists

Financial anxiety can affect individuals regardless of their actual financial status. Even those with secure incomes and substantial wealth may suffer from it for several reasons:

  • Comparison to Others. People tend to compare their financial situations to others, leading to feelings of inadequacy if they perceive others as more financially successful. A common comparison trope, for example, is a person being elated with gaining a million dollars through legitimate means. only to find that someone they knew is actually a lot more wealthy but doesn’t show off their riches. 
  • Uncertainty. Financial markets and economic conditions can be unpredictable, leading to concerns about the future, even for those who are currently financially stable. In 2015,  the Australian Psychological Society acknowledged in its Stress and Wellbeing report that 49 per cent of all Australians have personal finance as their leading cause of stress.  
  • Lifestyle Inflation. As income rises, expenses often follow suit for many people. Lifestyle inflation can create the illusion of financial insecurity, even with a high income.
  • Unexpected Expenses. Life is unpredictable, and unexpected expenses like medical bills or home repairs can trigger financial anxiety, no matter how well-prepared one may be.
  • Psychological Factors. Past financial trauma, learned behaviour from family, or a scarcity mindset can contribute to financial anxiety.

Cope and Eliminate

While financial anxiety can be challenging to overcome, there are effective strategies to cope with it and regain control over your mental and financial well-being. Here are some of them:

Budgeting and Financial Planning

Creating a budget and financial plan can provide a sense of structure and control over your finances. It helps you understand where your money is going and sets clear financial goals.

Emergency Fund

Building an emergency fund is essential for dealing with unexpected expenses. Having a financial cushion can alleviate anxiety related to unforeseen financial setbacks.

Seek Professional Advice

Consider consulting a financial advisor or wealth psychologist. They can provide guidance, strategies, and emotional support tailored to your unique situation. This will also apply to such professionals with links to therapy or support groups. 

Mindfulness and Stress Reduction

Practices like mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety. Learning to stay present and manage your reactions to financial stressors can be transformative.

Financial Literacy

Increase your financial literacy by educating yourself about money management, investments, and retirement planning.  

Limit Comparisons

Avoid comparing your financial situation to others. Focus on your own goals and priorities, and remember that everyone’s financial journey is unique. 

Set Realistic Goals

Set achievable financial goals based on your circumstances. Defining them may help you control spending.

Emergency Plan

Develop a plan for handling financial emergencies, such as job loss or health crises. Knowing how you will respond can reduce anxiety about the unknown.

Stay Active and Healthy

Financial anxiety may be eased to a degree with regular exercise and a balanced diet. The team at PeopleSense Australia notes that exercise will trigger the brain to release endorphins that can alleviate stress and clear your thinking about solutions.

Limit News Consumption

Constant exposure to financial news can fuel anxiety. Stay informed, but limit your exposure to media that triggers stress.

Celebrate Small Wins

Some small steps in dealing with financial stress can be worth celebrating. Recognising progress can boost your confidence and reduce anxiety.


Financial anxiety is a common challenge faced by individuals in Australia and around the world. It can affect people with various income levels and wealth pools, driven by factors like comparison, uncertainty, and learned behaviours. However, by implementing practical strategies, seeking support when needed, and focusing on financial well-being, you can cope with and eliminate financial anxiety.

Remember that financial peace of mind is not solely about the size of your bank account; it’s about managing your finances in a way that aligns with your goals and values. By taking proactive steps to address financial anxiety, you can pave the way for a healthier and more balanced relationship with money, ultimately leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.

If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health problems due to finance issues, you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or Beyond Blue at 1300 224 636.

DISCLAIMER:  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute official financial advice. 2 Ezi has no relationships with any financial advisor.

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