Financial stress can manifest itself in many different ways, and looks similarly to any other form of stress or anxiety. The difference is in the cause of the stress and that it tends to center on financial situations. Coping with financial stress can involve personal budgeting and better financial planning, as well as therapy.

Signs of Financial Stress: What It Looks Like
Financial stress can present differently depending on your stage of life. In teens, for example, financial stress may come in the form of avoidant behavior. For a teen, avoiding exposure that you may be on unequal terms with your peers is a motivating factor, so avoiding activities with friends where spending money comes into play, like going shopping or out to eat, may be the behaviors seen.

Also, since finances are largely dependent on parents, there may be increased hostility toward parents.1 Teens may also be motivated to start work earlier out of a need to control their finances.

For adults, financial stress behaviors look a bit different and are greatly impacted by social support in place.2 For college age adults, the financial burdens of attending college has an impact on whether or not a college education is obtained, and therefore what career and income potential is open to an individual.

As adults enter their careers, they face stress around income, performance at work, and achieving a quality of life they desire. Stress can manifest itself in overspending out of denial, frustration, or need for comfort. It can also present as anger, irritability, and resentment toward others and themselves.

In later years, financial stress has an impact on quality and length of life. As you get older, typically healthcare costs increase, an expense that may not have been present earlier in life. This stress may influence an older person to stop working later in life, or decide that retirement is impossible for them. The stress added also impacts overall health and psychological functioning, as well as their sense of self-worth and control.

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