Most of us have experienced at least some degree of financial stress in our lives. Some of us have even experienced severe financial stress (maybe even now!). If you want to reduce your financial stress level, these five keys will help you immensely!

The First Key

How is money working (or not working) in your life right now? Is money causing you stress? If so, do you know why? Odds are if you do have money stress, the real problem isn’t the money…the real problem is your habits.

Take a few minutes and think about your habits. What are your good and bad habits with money? Good habits are those that help you improve your financial life; bad habits are those that worsen your financial life.

The key to reducing your financial stress is to identify those habits that would help improve your financial life and to practice them more frequently. Make a list of positive things you could do – starting today! – and take action on at least one of them. Better yet, take several actions. The more positive actions you take, the more your stress will reduce.

What are the good habits you could do more of that would help you have less stress about money?

Make a list of everything you could do to improve your financial situation. Your list might include things like these:

• Work longer or harder
• Get a second job
• Spend less
• Save more
• Start a new investment
• Spend time every day increasing my education
• Clear out my clutter
• Give away or sell items I don’t really need

Improve your habits.

The Second Key

Have you ever wondered what the major difference is between rich people and poor people? Here’s the best answer I’ve come across: Rich people save first and spend what’s left; poor people spend first and save what’s left. That’s about as simple as it gets. Save first.

The Third Key

When poor people talk about money, they say things like:

• “I never have enough money.”
• “I hate paying these lousy bills.”
• “I always run out of money before I run out of month.”
• “I just don’t know where it all goes.”
When rich people talk about money, they say things like:

• “I always have plenty of money.”
• “All my investments are profitable.”
• “I make money every minute of the day or night, even while I sleep.”
• “I am learning and growing everyday, which increases my value to the world.”

Start changing how you talk about money immediately!

The Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Keys

If I called you from out of state and told you I’d been kidnapped but got away and needed help to get to Sterling, Colorado, how would you help me? I don’t have a clue where I am now, or where Sterling, Colorado is, and I don’t have a car or any money. What I do know is if I can get to Sterling within a week from wherever I am, I’ll get a big inheritance from a long-lost aunt. I’ll give you half of it if you can help me out. What help could you give me?

• First, you could help me try to figure out where I am now. You could suggest that I…

o Look for street or building signs that might give me a clue
o Look for a phone book
o Ask people nearby


• Second, you could help me find out where Sterling, Colorado is. You might…

o Find a map and look for me
o Check it out on the Internet for me
o Find someone who might know where it is
o Give me directions


• Third, you could help me figure out some possible ways to get transportation and/or money. You could…

o Suggest that I take an odd job for a couple days to earn some money
o Have me explain my situation and ask passing strangers for handouts
o Wire me some money
o Come and get me if I’m not too far away (or come get me even if I am far away…after all, you’ll get it back from the inheritance!)
o Arrange to take me to Sterling

Now here’s the interesting thing… To get wealthy, you need to follow the same path we just did to get me to my inheritance:

Key four: You need to know (with regard to money) exactly where you are now
Key five: You need to have a goal: to know where you want to be and by when
Key six: You need to figure out the action steps you can take that will start you moving in the right direction

The Seventh Key

Start taking action now!

Summary

If you find yourself experiencing financial stress, here are the seven key steps you can take to reduce that stress:

1. Identify the habits that will help improve your financial life and practice them more frequently.
2. Save first and spend what’s left.
3. Carefully choose the words you use to talk about money.
4. Know (financially) exactly where you are now.
5. Know exactly where you want to be financially and by when.
6. Determine the action steps that will start you moving in the right direction.
7. Choose a positive action step and take it as soon as you get to the exclamation mark at the end of this sentence!