Fear can consume you. The anxiety of the unknown can drive you to pull the blanket over your head, whether you’re worried about a rustling sound outside your bedroom window or that you won’t have enough retirement savings.

Financial fears — not wanting to check your credit, confront your debt or even discuss your student loans — can feel especially shameful. But facing those fears can empower you to take action.

1. Student loan stress

Student loans topped the list of most-feared financial topics among U.S. adults, according to a 2019 survey of 1,006 consumers by TD Ameritrade. Student loan debt, at 36%, outranked even living paycheck to paycheck (26 and credit card debt (20%).

HOW TO CONQUER IT: Understand your loans in detail — that’s key to knowing whether you’re on the best repayment plan. Know each loan’s term, balance, interest rate and whether it’s a federal or private loan.

For unaffordable federal loans, look into income-driven repayment plans . For private loans, you may be able to refinance for a lower monthly payment (but it may cost more overall).

2. Recession anxiety

Indicators like slowing global economic growth hint that a recession might be coming, raising fears of job loss and asset depletion.

HOW TO CONQUER IT: Shore up your savings and diversify your skills. Build up at least $500 in savings to cover an emergency, advises Boston-based financial coach Kimberly Zimmerman Rand. After that, work toward having a few months’ worth of expenses saved in case of job loss. Make saving easier with direct deposits from your paycheck or automatic transfers from checking to savings.

“On the professional side, since we’re not in a recession right now, see how you can improve your job skills, your network, your resume, so if the unfortunate does happen, you’ve already laid the foundation to transition to a new position,” Zimmerman Rand says.

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